Have any of you had a vegetable blow up while baking? Recipes dutifully instruct you to pierce the eggplant, potato, squash etc. with a fork so that it won’t burst while cooking. I always do it with mixed emotions – am I stabbing this thing enough? Is this really necessary? Or just one of those things that everyone says to do, but no one really has any idea if it’s actually required.
Enter a huge, glossy, Italian eggplant. I’m in a rush, and to save precious seconds, decide that all those people telling me to pierce things before cooking them are wrong. I take the eggplant, and with wanton abandon chuck it, un-pierced, onto the hot grill. With all that time saved, I begin cooking the rest of the meal. Until I’m suddenly interrupted by what sounds like a live-fire artillery exercise, by the Marines from the Kaneohe Marine Base, in my backyard. I run outside, expecting to see smoke rising from somewhere, and realize that the entire commotion has come from my Weber grill. Whatever portion of the eggplant that was not vaporized, was plastered to every surface of the interior of the grill hood.
Moral of the story: stab the spaghetti squash with a fork a bunch of times before baking! But under no circumstances should you attempt to cut it in half while raw. There are many recipes out there that blithely call for you to cut the raw spaghetti squash in half. What could they possibly be thinking? My very sharp Global knife cried uncle after the first attempt. It is also totally unnecessary. The squash cooks great whole.
Spaghetti squash is a tasty, fun, low carb and gluten free alternative to spaghetti. It is mild flavored, not at all watery, has a spaghetti-like shape, and tastes delicious with tomato sauce. It’s also extremely easy to make.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Stab spaghetti squash with a fork all over to prevent bursting.
- Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for an hour, or until fully soft when stuck with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool.
- When squash is cool enough to handle, cut in half and remove seeds. Gently scoop out squash noodles with a fork, keeping noodles intact, and put in a serving bowl.
- Serve squash topped with tomato sauce and meatballs. Pass the parmesan cheese at the table.
- Squash may be made a few hours ahead of time and reheated in a covered baking dish on 300° until warm.
- While squash is cooking, start Homemade Tomato Sauce, if making. While the sauce is cooking, make the Turkey Meatballs with Hidden Vegetables.