Monday, November 21, 2011

Hello, Gourdgeous!

I will never deny, you guys, my first--my truest!—love.  It’s spaghetti.  Forever and ever!  SLT + Spaghetti = TLA!  I would doodle that business all over a Pee-Chee folder if I had one right now, for real.  Sophia Loren said: “Everything I am, I owe to spaghetti.”  And I said: "Me too, girl…me too."  It’s my go-to comfort food.  A hot, steamy love affair in a bowl.  Awwww yeah!  It reminds me of being wee at Christmas at my Nonna’s table with the gaudiest china you ever saw and a huge, heavy crystal cheese bowl filled with snowy, stinky salty parmigiano with a teensy, tiny serving spoon* resting in its teensy, tiny spoon divot.   Such a demure little spoon!  That I would cram repeatedly in to my gaping maw!  I’d sneak mini-mountainy bites of that damn cheese right from that spoon whenever she wasn’t paying attention.  She’d set the table all elaborate-like and then get busy in the kitchen to continue her Feast of Fishes prep and whatnot.  The minute homegirl turned her back I’d be all up in that cheese.  She’d get so mad at me when she caught me.  Have you ever been screamed at in Italian by a granny in a hairnet**, housedress and support hose shaking a raw octopus—tentacles flailing about wildly--at you?  I have.  Maria Tricomi don’t play that, people.  She did not think that me and my two ponytails were adorable trying to eat all of the cheese while still keeping one eye on Three’s Company before people showed up.  If you were breaking bread with 5 year old me, you for sure used that germy spoon to sprinkle cheese on your pasta.  Sorry suckers!  And also: too bad!  It reminds me of good days with my Mom, of visits to and from my Aunties Mary and Rose, and of my Gramps, even though he always tried to sneak tripe in there. Gross!
Anyway, if given the opportunity and left to my own carefree devices and wanton ways, I’d eat pasta with marinara sauce and stinky cheese every ding-dang day, all day long.  It’s for sure [part of] my last meal, assuming I get to choose.  Hands down, no question, game over.  But you can’t really eat spaghetti only, Internet, because if you did you’d be 42786 lbs.  Don’t be crazy.  These are the sad-but-true facts.  I don’t like them but what can you do, right?  I’ll tell you what you do: you make spaghetti squash!
Listen up, you guys: I’M ADDICTED.  This damn gourd has changed my life!  I know this is simple and elementary to lots of people, but I think it needs to be shared.  And discussed.  I go through three huge squash (squashes? squashi?) a week.  BY MYSELF.  On Sunday or Monday I make my pot of sauce, I hack away at that squash trying to cut it in half such that I almost always sever a digit but I will not be deterred!   Then I roast those damn squash(?!), get all bonkers scraping them out with a fork or spoon and presto!  It's like magic!  I have my “spaghetti” ready for quick weeknight dinners.  I am spaghetti-ready!  It’s not 100% the same, but its close enough to make me happy and it kind of makes me feel like I’m cheating the system.  Sticking it to the man!  Power to the carb-addict people!  I know two people who hate marinara sauce***, so this won’t excite them, but maybe it excites you!  So here you go, FYI!
Spaghetti Squash
Serves: 2.  Or 1 for 2 days if your 1 is me.
1 spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.  (Good luck…these suckers are solid.  Maybe it’ll be easier for you if you’re really tall and can really get after it.) 

Scrape out all of the creepy gourd guts and seeds and discard.  Drizzle cut side with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. (Disclaimer: I don’t do this…I drizzle the baking sheet directly with olive oil and sprinkle it with garlic powder, salt and pepper and then shimmy the cut sides of the squash all around because I’m SMART!  Or lazy.)

Place squash, cut side down on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until squash is tender when pierced with a knife.

Remove squash from oven let it cool enough to handle.  Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to resemble spaghetti. You can usually just scoop it out with a spoon, too, and it will still get shreddy.

I like it with marinara and Parmegiano-Reggiano, but it’s delicious with a little olive oil, squirt of lemon and a little lemon zest, lots of black pepper and Asiago!  I’m serious.

*Oh!  I was like a miniature Pablo Escobar!

**She wore a hairnet at home all day and all night for as long as I ever knew her, you guys.  To keep her coiffe in line, is what her plan was.  But really, when she took it off for visitors or to go out and about all that happened was that her bun was intact, but she had a huge indentation on her face, around her hair line.  But she was committed to the strategy, regardless.
***One because growing up as an athlete it reminds her of “carbing up” before a meet and there’s no joy in that.  The other one is just crazy.


  1. I want you to mane this for me! While wearing a hairnet! (But not support hose, please.)

  2. I would be happy to, mane!