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On Your Mark, Get Set: Squash It Up!

2010 October 19

by Brianna Bain

Cold rainy days have made Sarah’s suggestion of running the oven full blast for some seasonal cooking seem very inviting. Being in the the fall mood and taking note of what Sarah brought to the relay last week with her Herb Roasted Chicken with Apple, Butternut & Leek Purée I bring one of my favorite seasonal  fruits into the relay: Spaghetti Squash! A perfect food to serve as a warm up event for my oven in light of the coming food filled gatherings that sprinkle the next few months.

If you are not familiar with Spaghetti squash it’s a “must try” food.  It’s a phenomena really. Known to some as the squash with a surprise inside.  It is similar in exterior appearance to many squash but is much like a bundle of noodles on the inside, like “glass” or rice noodle. You have to see it to believe it.   Unlike many squash it’s consistency is more watery and lighter in flavor, lacking the dense creaminess found in squash such as acorn and butternut.  It’s  a fabulously healthy food chuck-full of  vitamins and fiber and it is a great alternative to pasta, lending itself to the creative mind in the kitchen.

This week I celebrated my sister-in-laws birthday by cooking her favorite dish: fettuccine alfredo. In my family there are two dietary restrictions that keep me on my toes for creating meals that we can all enjoy together for these celebratory occasions- gluten and dairy. To satisfy everyone  without having to cook two entirely separate  types of meals I embraced this opportunity to stretch my imagination and create a sort of mock fettuccini alfredo to go along side the original. Now, I will be the first to tell you that dishes that begin with “mock” are usually the ones I steer clear of.  Whether it be mock dairy, meat, or bread inspired loaf; calling food what it isn’t in hope to make it more appealing has never really worked for me. Let’s just get this straight, you will never make soy taste like duck and rice will never taste like cheese. Yes, these foods can taste good and I whole-heartedly support people exploring the world of alternatives  for personal or environmental sustainability, but these poor “mock” alternatives  are being set up for failure from the get go with their comparative introductions.

So this week in my attempt to make a gluten, dairy free and  veggie based pasta style dish, I intend to bring out it’s own glory as a magnificent vegetable.  Setting Spaghetti Squash apart from traditional fettuccini alfredo, I will honor pasta as my inspiration and create in it’s image something different and delicious!

I’ll see you Thursday with a new recipe!