On April the 1st 1957, the BBC broadcast a 3 minute segment on the bumper spaghetti harvest in Southern Switzerland. As you will have noted from the date, it was an April Fool’s Hoax and it has been recognised as the largest and most successful hoax ever carried out on television. So much so, that the next day the BBC was inundated with calls from people asking how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.
As silly as the hoax may sound, there is a type of squash that when cooked creates ribbons that look very like spaghetti and can be used in a similar way, but it has far fewer calories and carbohydrates, however it doesn’t have any real flavour itself, so you need to create a flavourful sauce to go with it. Spaghetti squash is a winter squash and it’s flesh, when uncooked looks the same as any other squash or pumpkin. The magic happens when it is cooked and the flesh can be teased out in spaghetti like ribbons with a fork.
How to prepare a Spaghetti Squash
The easiest way to prepare a spaghetti squash is to bake it in the oven. Either cut the spaghetti squash in half length ways, scoop out the seeds and then place it face down on a baking sheet and cook it in a 400F (200C) oven for 40 minutes, or keep the spaghetti squash whole, prick some holes in the outer flesh, bake it in a 400F (200C) oven for 70 minutes, cut it in half and then scoop out the seeds. I have prepared spaghetti squash both ways and find it easier to remove the seeds before cooking, than trying to deal with it afterwards. A quicker way would be to use a microwave. A rough rule of thumb would be 4 to 5 minutes per pound on high.
Next hold one half of the spaghetti squash (you may need to use a towel to prevent burning your hands) in a large bowl and using a fork tease out the strands of flesh from top to bottom. Allow the strands to release some of their steam as this will help later on when serving.
How to serve Spaghetti Squash
Though you can use spaghetti squash like normal spaghetti, I have tried serving it with a thick ragu sauce, but I prefer it with a simple dressing such as pesto or one made from sun-dried tomato, diced Prosciutto and garlic, but it is best as an appetiser or a side dish.
Make you sauce as normal, and once it has finished cooking add the spaghetti squash to the pan to warm through and become coated in the sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of Paramesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.