Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers

The holiday season is finally wrapping up so I’m looking for ways to, without suffering too much, rid myself of the few pounds I gained.  I’ll be turning to soups and vegetables over the next few weeks to help with that.  I started with a spaghetti squash.  I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti squash, particularly not as a substitute for actual spaghetti.  I did have one serving of this with spaghetti sauce on it, reminding me what a poor substitute it is for pasta.  Had to find something else to do with the rest.  And there was a lot of “the rest.”  Fortunately I was invited for an impromptu pot luck with a couple of friends so I had a chance to try this out on them without risking a lot of leftovers.

Spaghetti squash

Turns out leftovers were not a worry.  This is really good.  Well, of course it’s really good.  It’s a brown butter sauce.  Not so much a health food, but I maintain that butter sauce on spaghetti squash is still better for you than butter sauce on most other things.  Really I think this is more of a summer dish.  It calls for a little zucchini and a little chopped tomato.  It’s December and those things just don’t taste good so far out of season so I left them out.  To be completely honest I was going to include a few diced canned tomatoes, to the point that a friend went to pick them up for me and dropped them by the house (thank you!!), and then I forgot them.  I think that was fine, maybe even better.  I halved the spaghetti squash and most of the other ingredients, but kept full amounts, plus a little, of the red bell pepper and parsley.

There’s only one thing that makes this the tiniest bit tricky – browning the butter.  You have to watch it every second.  If you don’t it will burn and you’ll have to start over.  There’s no saving burned butter.  Swirl it around the pan occasionally as it browns.  Keep the heat relatively low.  Be patient.  There’s no rushing browned butter.  It’s worth it though.  It has a much richer flavor than just melted butter.  I used salted butter, as I do with everything, which is fine. I still added a touch of salt. You need it for balance.

The flavors in this are fantastic.  You get citrus and brine from the lemon and capers.  You get sweetness from the squash and red bell pepper.  You get a pop of fresh green flavor from the parsley.  A little salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper.  Done.  And awesome.  And pretty.  And a little bit sophisticated.  This definitely goes in the list of things to serve to guests.

Good? So much better than I dared hope.  Really good.
Easy? Yep, just watch the butter.
Good for company? It sure went fast at dinner, so yes.
Special shopping? Nope. Capers will be on the aisle with the pickles in any grocery store.

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons sweet butter
1 tablespoons capers, drained
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 C chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

Directions

Cut squash in 1/2 lengthwise and scoop out all seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook until the rind is slightly soft or gives with a little pressure, about 20 minutes. When it’s done, scrape the meat out with a fork and reserve, keeping warm.

In a hot skillet, melt the butter, add the olive oil and continue to cook until dark brown. Add the capers and bell pepper to stop the butter from cooking any further, and cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl mix the squash and butter sauce and serve.

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