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It’s squash season, with more options than pumpkin pie

Between trying to milk every last bit out of this year’s patio season and perhaps procrastinating on our leaves or pre-winter garden clean up, passing Thanksgiving and moving towards Halloween clearly puts us deep into the fall.

We may very well have enjoyed some form of squash this past weekend, whether it was a table decoration, hot vegetable or, of course, a slice or two of pumpkin pie, piled high with real whipped cream.

Squash are authentic to our harvest festival, as many varieties are native to North and South America and are even part of the Indigenous people’s “Three Sisters” method of farming, which is a story for another day.

There are many species of orange-fleshed squashes that can be interchangeable in most recipes such as butternut or buttercup, acorn or even pumpkin.

Other than zucchinis, there is another type of squash commonly found in your local grocery store:“spaghetti’ squash.

Unlike the name “squash” itself, which fits many other varieties as they can literally be squashed upon cooking, the spaghetti variety behaves a little differently.

When cut open, it doesn’t look much different other than having more of a yellowy flesh than some of the more orangey varieties. After cleaning, the secret is to essentially steam them whole until they just start to soften. After allowing to cool enough to touch without causing permanent scarring to your hands, you will then find it is quite fibrous and stringy inside such that it does in fact resemble spaghetti,  which you can gently remove with a fork.

You could of course serve this as a side vegetable if you like, but it’s great fun to serve as a main course.

Now you have a “pasta” that’s equally gluten-free, plant-based, vegan and full of nutrients … and tastes pretty darn good to boot!

You could simply serve it with your favourite pasta toppings but this gives you something a little different. The squash is naturally complemented by the nuttiness of the walnuts, and who can’t use a little nuttiness around dinnertime?

Spaghetti Squash ‘Pasta’ with Walnuts and Sage

Recipe by Chef Duff

A “pasta” that’s equally gluten-free, plant-based, vegan and full of nutrients … and tastes pretty darn good to boot!

Ingredients

  • 2 spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 small red onions, diced

  • 1 pkg. roughly chopped fresh sage

  • 1 cup unsalted walnuts, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup white wine

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place squash cut side up on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with half each of the oil, salt and pepper. Turn halves over; add a little water and roast cut side down in centre of oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and very tender.
  • Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in large frying pan over medium heat; cook onions, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sage, walnuts and remaining salt and pepper; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, or until onions are tender and golden. Pour in wine; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened and wine is absorbed.
  • Shred cooked squash into long strands using two forks making sure to remove all useable parts of the squash. Gently toss into frying pan with walnut mixture until combined and heated through. Divide between two bowls; serve immediately.
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