Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli Butter Sauce

Though technically not a pasta, this egg-shaped squash behaves just like it when cooked, the pulp separates like strands of spaghetti. It is delicious, has considerably fewer calories than spaghetti, and adapts well to most pasta sauces. I prefer it with a delicate sauce, such as this broccoli butter sauce, so as not to overpower its mild flavor. If spaghetti squash is overcooked it will be mushy and lose the texture of individual spaghetti strands. The best way to control this is to undercook when you boil it, then separate it into strands and saut until tender.

SERVES 2 TO 3

1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3ВЅ pounds), rinsed off

1 large bunch broccoli

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon water

Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop in the spaghetti squash, then cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes. Remove from the pot and cut it in half crosswise (surprisingly this will give you longer strands). Let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes, then scoop out the seeds and discard them. With a fork scoop out the pulp and separate it into strands, then put it in a medium bowl. May be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, covered, and chilled.
  2. Cut the florets off the broccoli, then cut them into small pieces. Save the stalks for another use (such as Lemon-Glazed Broccoli Stalks Julienne).
  3. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and basil, toss to coat well, then add 1 tablespoon of water and cover the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the broccoli is about half cooked.
  4. Discard any accumulated liquid in the bottom of the squash bowl, then add the squash to the broccoli and toss to blend. Cook, uncovered, for about 10 more minutes, or until the squash is crunchy but not hard. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese to pass at the table.