What’s for dinner: Roasted Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash

Last weekend I introduced my friend (and now across-the-street neighbor!) James to the joys of the farmers market — wandering through the aisles, avoiding the pamphleteers, the “bring your own bag” technique. Then we ventured off to food stores previously unknown — Schreiner’s Sausage and Petit Fromage — to examine the wares (and, in my case, stock up on some of them.)

A week later, I realized that every single item I had purchased was still in the refrigerator.

At the market I had picked up a spaghetti squash specifically because I remembered seeing a recipe in the December 2009 issue of Everyday Food magazine (my snapshot of their photo above; I suspect the recipe is not online because it’s in the current issue) that used the squash instead of pasta, and had decided that would be a good recipe to try for Mr. “Gluten-Free” Brooks.

Cost of ingredients: I’m going to ballpark the spaghetti squash at $2.50 (they don’t give you itemized receipts at the farmer’s market) which would bring the total to $15.47 — $10.99 of which was the shrimp. The recipe specifies large shrimp, but you could easily substitute medium and knock off about 3 bucks.

Substitutions: None.

As easy as they said? Definitely: Split the spaghetti squash in half, roast in a 375-degree oven with water for about 45 minutes, then cool, remove seeds, and shred with a fork. Coat shrimp with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, roast in the same oven for 8 minutes, then toss with squash, olive oil, lemon juice and a little parsley. One note: Once tossed, your dish will look nothing like the photo above, in which the shrimp have been artfully arranged. The strands are so slippery, in fact, that I decided it would be easiest to parcel it out using my (clean) hands, then make sure there was an appropriate number of shrimp in each bowl.

How’d THAT go over? Let me remind everyone: Spaghetti squash ≠ spaghetti. This will not taste like pasta — although my attempt, unlike this person’s, at least kept the appropriate string-like texture intact. I had worried about a pumpkin/butternut sort of flavor, but none appeared — in fact, the squash was more about texture than flavor (which was provided, as it turns out, by the shrimp cooking juices, olive oil, lemon juice and salt/pepper). Not knowing that yet, at the last minute I added liberal splashes of chipotle hot sauce to my dish, just in case. It didn’t hurt, but certainly wasn’t necessary — the other seasonings were enough to  stand on their own — in a light, fresh way.

Would I make it again? I wouldn’t say it’s my new favorite dish, but certainly something to keep in the repertoire for a change. Plus, dinner for 234 calories? I’m in.

WHAT SAM WORE: 12-20-09
The shirt: Short-sleeved T-shirt from Gap,
under a heavyweight zip-up hoodie from Lacoste.
The pants: Fleece workout pants by Puma, from Last Chance.
The shoes: Gel-Oberon sneakers by Asics, from Sports Authority.
The scent: Original Musk lotion by Kiehl’s.

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