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Spaghetti Squash

In the past 15 years, I've started to make my own Thanksgiving traditions and one of those is squash. Our children, never picky eaters, have always loved squash. The reason spaghetti squash shows up on our Thanksgiving table is because it requires so little prep work. Spaghetti squash is cooked whole and the seeds are removed after cooking. I always stick it in to cook with the stuffing, while the turkey is "setting." When it's done I cut it in half and, while I prepare the last-minute dishes, have one of the older kids scoop the seeds, remove the strands of squash to a bowl, then toss it with butter. It can be prepared ahead and reheated in the microwave.

1 spaghetti squash
Butter to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Pierce squash skin deeply several times so steam can escape. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size. Let squash cool 10 or 15 minutes, and then cut in half. Scoop out seeds and use a fork to gently remove the strands of squash. Toss them with butter, salt and pepper. You can substitute olive oil with sautéed garlic for the butter.

The Secret: Make sure spaghetti squash is cooked until the skin is very soft and can be pierced easily with a dinner fork, not just a sharp knife. If it's undercooked at all, the strands won't separate and it's virtually inedible. It can even be cooked most of the way in the oven and zapped in the microwave to hurry it up.

Kelly D. Burgess

Thursday, November 18, 1999

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