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Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp with Lemongrass-Peanut Sauce

Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp with Lemongrass-Peanut Sauce
Spaghetti squash is a minor food miracle: low in calories, low in carbs, high on the food satisfaction index, easy to prepare and adaptable to all sorts of culinary schemes. It seems gimmicky -- a low calorie, low carb vegetable masquerading as pasta -- but believe me, this is real food. Of course it's not a pasta substitute but, that acknowledged, it's almost as fun to eat. 

We usually just add a pat of butter, a little salt and some basil or thyme and enjoy. But lately I've been looking to learn about lemongrass -- a subtle herb that somehow never has had a place in my repertoire -- so after noodling around a bit I came up with this recipe, with peanut butter, lemongrass, ginger, tomato and a couple of other supporting players to make a spicy, flavorful sauce. It adds an interesting dimension to the squash and makes a perfect pairing with the seared shrimp. 

Spaghetti Squash and Shrimp with Lemongrass-Peanut Sauce

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Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash, about 2 pounds
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, about 6" each, white part only, chopped
  • 8 large shallots, peeled and sliced (divided)
  • 1" ginger, peeled and chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons concassé (tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 small hot green chile, seeded, cut in slivers
  • 1/2 cup homemade unsalted chicken broth (or water) 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

Method

1. Prick squash skin all around with a fork. Rub with 1 tablespoon olive oil and bake for 1 hour in a preheated 400º oven. 

2. Meanwhile, place the lemongrass, half the shallots, the ginger, lime zest, peanut butter, turmeric, tomato concassé, green chile and chicken broth or water in the bowl of a food processor. Process a minute or two until the mixture is a thick paste. Turn the mixture into a pan and cook over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.

3. Dry the shrimp thoroughly -- they won't caramelize properly if they're wet. Place 1 teaspoon olive oil in a heavy skillet on high heat. When the oil starts to smoke add the shrimp, in one layer, and let them cook, undisturbed, for 90 seconds. Turn the shrimp and cook 60 seconds more, pressing them down with a spatula. Remove to a side plate, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and, if desired, a squeeze of lime juice. Keep warm. 

4. Sauté the remaining sliced shallots in a small amount of olive oil until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

5. When the squash is done, let it cool until it can be handled, then cut it into two long halves. With a soup spoon, scrape out the seeds. With a fork, pull the meat into shreds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the lemongrass sauce to the squash and toss to combine. Correct the seasoning.

To serve, place a mound of the squash on a serving plate. Add the shrimp and garnish with the crisp shallots and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.  

Nutritional Estimate: 6 Servings. Per serving: 163 Calories; 10 g Total Carbs; 3 g Dietary Fiber; 4 g Sugars; 7 g Fat; 86 mg Cholesterol; 148 mg Sodium; 15 g Protein. Weight Watchers: 3 points.

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Comments

Hey Stephen - that looks great! I'm not that familiar with preparing squash, so always looking for new suggestions. This will go over big in my home. Thanks for the post!

Hello there, Stephen

your post had perfect timing, as I had bought spaghetti squash and also had some shrimp in the freezer.

However, I messed up cooking the squash somehow. It "kind" of formed the strands, but it turned more into a mush.

any ideas? I actually cut it in half before baking, and roasted with the cut side down. Maybe I baked too long? How do you tell when it's ready?


Hi again Sally...

Well, any number of things could have crossed you up. In my mind the primo suspect would be the squash...with commercial produce there are a lot of similar but not equal cultivars, since in order to maintain a constant supply many different farms in many different places are involved...each of them grows a version of the product but studies have shown that week to week there is a big difference in supermarket produce that looks the same. The age of the squash could also be a factor. Ive always roasted it whole, cutting it open after -- not sure if that makes a difference but it works for me...

As far as knowing when its ready...I dont have a magic wand. I roast it for an hour and then cut it open and see what the situation is. In the rare case that its not done at that point I stretch a piece of plastic wrap over the halves and microwave them on full power for 5 minutes, and then 5 minutes more if necessary. That seems to do the trick.


If any other readers have some insight on this, please let us know what you know!


best, Stephen

Thanks so much, Stephen!

I do think that maybe I baked for too long. I was using my toaster oven with convection, and the convection was turned on, maybe I should have checked a little earlier in the baking time.

I will try it again and be a little more "conservative" ;-)

WOW!!! I am totally going to make this - AWESOME STATS and the combo sounds amazing.

Printing it out now :)

Hmmm... It's yummy! It's my first time to hear about spaghetti squash. By looking at the picture, I can say it's delicious.

I really don't know if it taste sweet or not. That's worth a try.

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