Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp, Lemon and Spinach MAKES 4 SERVINGS
For those days when you want more veggies than carbs, spaghetti squash is your answer. Here, the tender strands get tossed with garlicky, lemony butter for a sensation that feels like scampi, but better. Spinach and tomatoes add color and even more tasty veggies to the meal.
3 pounds spaghetti squash, about 4 cups, cooked 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups baby spinach, chopped 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
SPAGHETTI SQUASH AFRICA STUDIO - ADOBE STOCK
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side down, on the pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. To check for doneness, take the pan out of the oven, turn a squash half over and then insert a paring knife into the flesh along one side and try to separate the strands. If the squash does not separate easily, place it cut side down again and bake 10 minutes longer. 3. When the squash can be broken into strands easily, remove from oven, turn the halves cut side up, and cool on a rack. When cool, scrape out the strands and measure 4 cups for this dish. 4. Prep the shrimp and pat dry. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and stir, cooking until the shrimp are pink. Add the garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the spaghetti squash and salt and toss until the squash is heated through. Add the spinach and tomatoes and stir into the mixture, cooking until the spinach wilts. Sprinkle with Parmesan and toss to coat. Serve hot.
SQUASH VARIETIES Acorn: Deeply lobed and pointed at the blossom end, these small squashes are often halved and baked, then topped with butter and brown sugar. Their flesh is pale orange or yellow, and smooth textured for easy eating. Buttercup: Squat, blocky and streaked with greens and greys, the buttercup hides a rounded “cup” on the blossom end. Sweet, nutty flesh is smooth and meaty, and drier than some squashes. Butternut: The tan-colored squash with smooth, bright orange flesh is one of the most popular varieties. Moist, sweet and mild, it’s easy to peel and good in most recipes. Delicata: Small and oblong, these are streaked with white, yellow, orange and green on their thin, tender skin. Their flesh is sweet and a little denser and drier than acorns and butternuts. Hubbard: The Hubbard can be a 40-pound blue-skinned behemoth, although new varieties are smaller. Rich, meaty flesh and deep orange color make it a popular one. They are often cut in chunks and wrapped so you can get a smaller portion. Kabocha: Sometimes called a Japanese pumpkin, this squat, round squash is streaked with greens and greys. A favorite for Asian dishes, it has dense, meaty flesh that holds its shape in a curry or stew. Red Kuri: Very similar to kabocha, the squash’s dark orange skin and teardrop shape give it curb appeal for days. Spaghetti: This is the odd man out, with pale yellow skin and flesh that falls apart into spaghetti-like strands. The key to working with this squash is to not overbake it, which makes the strands soggy. Halve, seed and bake until a paring knife inserted into the flesh can easily twist and break the strands apart. Waiting until the skin is easily pierced is too long.
SCRAPING SPAGHETTI SQUASH STRANDS
Sweet Dumpling, Carnival: These adorable little squashes are 4 to 6 inches across, with white or pale yellow skins, splotched with green. Mild and sweet, their edible skin lends them to slicing and roasting, sautéing or stewing, or stuffing for a pretty presentation.
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