I had heard quite a bit about “spaghetti squash” as a miracle low carb replacement for pasta. Toss with a light tomato sauce some said, and eat like a spaghetti al pomodoro… NOT. I have been easing into a more vegetable centric diet over the past few days, so when I spotted these spaghetti squash from Dizon farms at the Shoemart Grocery in Makati, I bought one with high expectations. Elizabeth Schneider, the author of “Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables” writes an uncommonly ambiguous or uninformative entry on this vegetable. Basically, she says it was popularized in the U.S. by Frieda Caplan, an L.A. based produce wholesaler. But its beginnings are hazy at best, related to all other squashes, and probably from Central America, this cucurbita pepo was generally unheard off until about 10-15 years ago in the U.S. Ms. Schneider thinks the varieties popular now are a result of breeding work done in Japan over three decades late in the last century…
Split the hard squash open, remove the seeds and bake in a hot oven with some dabs of butter until cooked, some 45+ minutes, depending on the size of the specimen. Then take a fork and “shred the squash into what look a bit like thin palabok noodles. Cool, you first think. And add more butter to give it flavor. But it had hardly any taste! Maybe I got a bad version of it but it was bland, kinda crisp chewy, and generally kind of boring. I know folks might just be exaggerating when they say it is a good substitute for spaghetti noodles, but it simply is not. :)
But before you dismiss this vegetable… it does only possess some 45 calories per CUP of cooked squash (sans butter) according to Ms. Schneider. NO WONDER IT DOESN’T TASTE LIKE ANYTHING. Arrgh. Why can’t lechon have only 45 calories per cup?!?