How to Cook and Prepare a Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash Doesn't Taste Like a Squash
I admit that, when I first heard about substituting a squash for pasta, I was skeptical. I thought it would turn to mush when I tried to eat it and would taste ... squashy.
The first time I tried it, I was really surprised. The strands were not mushy at all. They have a texture that is a little crisper than regular cooked spaghetti, but not at all tough. The flavor is so mild that, when you put marinara sauce on it, you can't even taste the squash. It is the perfect spaghetti stand-in and an easy way to work veggies into your diet.
It does take a little longer to prepare than regular spaghetti, but the process is not difficult.
First, Catch Your Squash
You can see in the picture what spaghetti squash look like. They are available in the grocery store. Nice clear label on the sticker.
I try to cook only as much as I'm going to eat in a sitting. Cooked spaghetti squash keeps for a day or two in the fridge, but no longer.
Whole, raw spaghetti squash, on the other hand, can keep for a few weeks in a cool, dark place, so you can stock up.
Prepare Your Spaghetti Squash
Preheat your oven to 375 F, or 400 if you are in a hurry.
Rinse the outside of the squash. Using a large knife, carefully cut the squash in half. This is similar to cutting a pumpkin on Halloween. You will see strings and seeds inside. Use a large spoon to scrape them out (stop when the flesh starts peeling out with them).
Cook Your Spaghetti Squash
Put the two halves of the squash face-down on a baking sheet as shown. As you can see, I have used a layer of aluminum foil so the sheet is easier to clean.
That's it. You don't even have to prick holes in the squash as you would for a potato.
Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes to one hour, or at 400 F for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. When it is done, it will feel soft if you put on an oven mitt and gently squeeze it.
And Now the Magic Happens
Now for the fun step. Grasp a squash half in one hand, being sure to use an oven mitt. With the other hand, use a fork to scrape the flesh out of the spaghetti squash and into a serving dish.
It will automatically come out in spaghetti-shaped strings. Their length will be a bit shorter than spaghetti noodles, however.
Repeat with the other half.
You may want to drain the squash strands in a strainer if they are a little watery.
Return to the serving bowl. Drizzle on your favorite oil and toss with a fork, just as you would do with spaghetti. Now you can serve the squash just as you would serve spaghetti. It's that simple.
Spaghetti sauce doesn't usually photograph that well, but here's what it looked like on my plate.
- Preheat oven 375 F.
- Wash the spaghetti squash, cut it in half, and scrape out the seeds.
- Bake at 375 F for about an hour.
- Scrape out the flesh with a fork.
- That's all there is to it. Add a little oil and serve!