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Veggie Heaven - All The Single Girlfriends

Veggie Heaven

Foodie Friday

Oct 21, 2011 by

Growing up at our house (Whitebread Ohio in the 50s) was all about meat and potatoes. Spaghetti was exotic and only came with tons of tomato sauce and meatballs. “Pasta” was a foreign concept. I was married for several years before a friend convinced me that I could make spaghetti at home (with the help of a brand new—to me—product called Ragu!).

Today, however, I’m a devoted pasta fan.  I put everything on pasta short of cinnamon and sugar. Lately I’ve been experimenting with “fancy” pastas: lemon-pepper pappardelle, mushroom linguini, basil-garlic fettucini. Spaghetti squash, however, escaped me. I’d tried it and found it bland.

Last week at the farmer’s market the display of lemony yellow spaghetti squash was irresistible…as were the eggplant, tomato, garlic, zucchini, mushroom, summer squash, baby gold potato, and onion displays (not to mention the fruit and cheese)!

Those who love food shopping but, like me, cook for one may already see where this is going.  I ended up with too many vegetables.  The only way to keep from having to throw them out is to cook several different vegetables at a single meal.  The following solution (along with a nice Italian red and a couple of ripe kiwis for dessert) was perfect.

Spaghetti Squash with Grilled Eggplant, Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

After twenty frustrating minutes sorting through the various cookbooks looking to see whether I should cut the squash in half, I chose to go with the directions stuck to the squash itself by a helpful farmer. The results are below.

 Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash (even a small one will make two huge entrée-sized portions)

1 eggplant (one small one easily makes two servings)

1 large, very ripe, homegrown tomato

A handful of basil, chopped

Olive oil or your favorite oil-based salad dressing (I use Newman’s balsamic vinaigrette)

A pat or two of butter

Shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400⁰
  2. Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out and discard the stringy bits and seeds from the center.
  3. Place the halves cut side up in a baking pan (I use a rectangular glass pan).  Put about ½ inch of water in the bottom of the pan. If you like, you can drizzle olive oil over the top or even add a pat of butter.
  4. Put the pan in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh scrapes away from the side easily.
  5. Meanwhile slice the eggplant crosswise into ½ inch slices. Unless the eggplant is very fresh, I salt both sides of the slices and press them between paper towels for at least a half hour. This is supposed to make them less bitter.
  6. Shortly before the squash is done, dip the eggplant slices in your favorite dressing and cook for 2 minutes on a side in a stove-top grill or under a broiler (about 6 inches from the heating element). The eggplant should be very soft, but still hold its shape.
  7. Cut the tomato into nice-sized chunks (too small and they become mush), drizzle with olive oil or salad dressing and top with the chopped basil, then microwave for 30-45 seconds (or 90 seconds if your microwave is as old and feeble as mine).
  8. Wash and chop the basil.
  9. While the eggplant is cooking, remove the squash from the oven and scrape out the center (it should come clean and separate into spaghetti-like strands easily). If desired, toss with a pat or two of butter.
  10. Cut the eggplant into bite-sized pieces and toss the tomatoes, basil, and eggplant with the spaghetti squash.  Add salt and pepper to taste and top with shredded cheese if desired

So much better than Ragu!

Graphic credit: Flickr user jayluker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


About the Author

Tani Wolff Has Written 17 Articles For Us!

I also write for a college admissions blog and create marketing materials. However, my true passion is preparing articles about Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ upcoming festival season. I spend eight to ten months each year researching the composers, librettists, time periods and performance records of our productions (as well as the music) to put together pieces that will enhance the enjoyment of our fabulous and devoted patron community. It is truly a labor of love.
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