Entrees · Seafood

Spaghetti Squash with Sautéed Cajun Shrimp

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I’ll be brutally honest with you: only a year ago, the mere notion of having “stringed squash” in lieu of actual pasta was completely unnerving. I just wasn’t interested. But I’ll be brutally honest with you again & share that surprisingly; this dish was REALLY good. The squash had a firm texture and was not jelly-like, as I had erroneously presumed. There’s nothing I dislike more than mushy, over-cooked, breaking-in-your-fork pasta. I like my pasta more on the “al dente” end of things. Soft enough, but with a nice chew or firmness.

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The truth is, I am a total pasta geek. I could eat spaghetti a la carbonara for breakfast, lunch and dinner- if left unsupervised. My love for pasta runs deep, folks. In fact, I love pasta so much that it played a definitive factor in selecting our honeymoon location. We went to Italy for 12 days on what we hailed would be a total food and sightseeing fest. And it didn’t disappoint, not at all. I had the best time of my life and would return there in a heartbeat. I also ate enough pasta and gelato to feed a small army.

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No need for a spiralizer: all you need is a fork to run down each squash half and then back up again repeating this (in a vertical fashion) to collect your “noodles”!

But let’s go back to this meal… spaghetti squash is “pasta’s healthy cousin”. She won’t go straight to your hips or your butt or your belly. She will make you feel like you’re eating something hearty and comforting, without the starchy white carbs. I like her, already. If you have gluten sensitivities, there’s plenty of brown rice or quinoa pasta available. The appeal of spaghetti squash is namely the fact it’s low-carb. I think it makes for the perfect dinner, give it a try & let me know what you think!

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To entice you a bit further, I topped it with sweet and spicy cajun shrimp! It’s a super easy weeknight meal that will have you coming back to it!

Cajun Shrimp Spaghetti Squash

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hr
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Ingredients

For the Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 large/medium spaghetti squash (they’re usually labeled, ask at the store if unsure)
  • 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of ghee (tastes really good and it’s a healthy fat, look for it at most stores!)

For the Cajun Shrimp

  • 1 bag of large, frozen shrimp. I pull & remove the tail after thawing. (About 1+1/2 lbs)
  • 1 tsp of paprika ( I add 2 because I love it- too much)
  • 1 tsp fresh minced garlic (about 2-3 finely minced cloves)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp lemon thyme or thyme (or fresh thyme if you have some in your garden!)
  • Some fresh basil (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F & line a roasting or baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Place the squash on a cutting board & use a sharp chef knife to carefully slice it in half lengthwise (vertically)
  3. Use a large soup spoon to scoop out the seeds (I save mine for roasting later on)
  4. Drizzle olive oil generously & rub with clean hands over each squash half. You could also sprinkle with sea salt at this point.
  5. Place each half “face down” on the roasting pan & bake for 35-45 mins. Some people suggest adding a little water (to help it steam and soften) but I never do. I cover it with aluminum foil and it cooks beautifully.
  6. While the squash bakes, we tackle the shrimp. I usually rinse them over warm water to help them thaw, and then drain them & pat dry with a kitchen towel.
  7. In a non-stick sauce pan, warm up the olive oil. I like to place all the ingredients (except for the garlic) in a bowl and whisk them well. This becomes your “cajun spice mix”. I make it all the time & keep some in a jar. Toss the shrimp around in the spice mix and then throw onto the pan.
  8. I sometimes add a little drizzle of rice vinegar if you want a mild acidity to the shrimp. This is completely optional. Cook the shrimp for 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Cook for another 5 mins. Do not overcook. The shrimp I used is pre-cooked already.
  9. You know it’s ready when you bring it out and the noodles come out easy when you scrape it down and then back up with a fork. The noodles should be tender. If they’re not, try baking an extra 10 mins and adding a little more olive oil.
  10. You can add a little ghee or grass-fed butter to the spaghetti squash. You can sprinkle with fresh chopped basil or parsley.
  11. Place the shrimp on top, toss around, and enjoy with a glass of vino!

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Spaghetti de Calabacín con Camarones Cajun

Ingredientes

Para el Calabacín 

  • 1 calabacín para spaghetti mediano (los venden rotulados en el super como “Spaghetti Squash”
  • 1-2 cucharadas de aceite de olivo extra virgen
  • sal de mar al gusto

Para los Camarones Al Cajun

  • 1 bolsa de camarones grandes per-cocidos o frescos (aproximadamente 1.5 libras de camarón)
  • 1 cucharadita de paprika
  • 1 cucharadita de ajo picado finito (2-3 dientes)
  • 1 cucharadita de oregano
  • 3/4 cucharadita de tomillo
  • 1/4 cucharadita de sal de mar (o al gusto)
  • 1 cucharada de aceite de olivo extra virgen

Instrucciones

  1. Encender el horno a 375F y alinear un pyrex para hornear con papel de pergamino
  2. Sobre una tabla de cortar y usando un cuchillo de chef con mucho filo (y con mucho cuidado) cortar el calabacín a lo largo en dos mitades exactas (de manera vertical).
  3. Usar una cuchara sopera para sacar las semillas de cada mitad. Yo las guardo, las limpio y las rostizo con aceite de olivo, sal y pimienta como un “snack”.
  4. Con manos limpias, agregar el aceite al calabacín y restregarlo bien para que cada mitad lo absorba. También se le puede agregar la sal en este momento.
  5. Colocar cada mitad boca abajo, cubrir con papel de aluminio y meter a hornear por 35-45 minutos para que ablande.
  6. Mientras se cocina el calabacín, preparamos el camarón. Si esta congelado la mejor manera de descongelarlo es dejándolo reposar en agua caliente fuera de la bolsa. Luego se escurre y se seca con una toalla de cocina. El camarón que yo utilizo es per-cocido, entonces su tiempo de cocción es muy corto.
  7. En un plato sopero grande, dejar caer todos los ingredientes para sazonar el camarón, a excepción del ajo. El ajo siempre se agrega al final.
  8. Mezclar los condimentos muy bien, y se deja caer el camarón y se mezcla para cubrirlo todo con la sazón.
  9. En una sartén de teflon se calienta el aceite de olivo en fuego medio y se deja caer el camarón ya cubierto por las especies cajun. Se deja cocinar por 3-5 minutos y luego se deja caer el ajo y se cocina por 5 minutos adicionales. No los cocinen demasiado, se resecan fácilmente. Si usan camarones frescos, su tiempo de cocción va a ser mayor.
  10. Sacar el calabacín del horno al minuto 35 para chequearlo. Si pasan el tenedor a lo largo de cada mitad (de abajo para arriba y repitiendo) y los “noodles” se desprenden con facilidad y están suaves, ya esta listo. Si todavía se sienten duros, meter al horno por otros 10 minutos. Siempre cubrir con papel de aluminio para acelerar el proceso.
  11. Cuando este listo el calabacín, se le deja caer los camarones al cajun y se puede decorar con albahaca fresca o perejil. Que la disfruten con un vaso de vino tinto o chardonnay frío!

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