I remember when I was a kid, I used to totally HATE spaghetti squash…
I wasn’t really big on squash period back then, but spaghetti squash I particularly didn’t care for; I found it to be bland, tasteless, boring and I also wasn’t a fan of its somewhat strange texture.
Mostly, though, I think that I hated it because it used to replace one of my favorite food items in the whole wide world: pasta! So whenever my mom made Spaghetti Squash, I’d try and get out of it by getting one of my friends to have their parents invite me over for dinner.
Now that I’m all grown up, though, I’ve completely changed my mind about this fascinating vegetable. Not only do I ADORE its very unique, stringy nature, but I’m totally in love with its delicate, slightly nutty and buttery flavor.
I rarely use it as pasta replacement, though. I much prefer to enjoy it as is, in all its glory! If I had my way, I think I could very well have spaghetti squash every single day when squash is in season; or well, several times a week, at the very least.
I like to cook my Spaghetti Squash pretty much in the same way I make butternut squash: roasted slowly in a hot oven until its flesh caramelizes a little bit and turns a beautiful shade of golden brown. Not only is the method super easy, but it also gives the squash a wonderfully delicious flavor, not to mention strikingly jaw dropping and mouthwatering good looks!
The only real tricky part, if there is one, is in slicing the squash open… but even that, you’ll see, isn’t all that hard at all!
To make the “Squash Halving” operation a complete success, there are a few very simple rules to follow, the first one being you must use the proper tool for the job. A sharp chef knife is the only way to go!
Next, you want to make sure that you stab the gourd right in its center first, as opposed to trying to slice it right from the get go.
Just hold that blade perpendicular to the squash and then go ahead and shove it straight down the center of the squash.
Then, pivot that blade and lower into the squash to do the actual slicing. After you’ve made one cut, turn the squash around and repeat the exact same thing on the other side, then roll it onto itself and repeat again on the opposite side.
If you find that the little stub is too hard for you to slice across it, don’t worry about it and just leave it in place: it should rip right out once you’ve been completely around the squash with your knife.
Time to scoop out the guts and seeds. To do that, I like to use one of those ice cream scoops. They’re super sturdy and their sharp edge really digs easily into the flesh.
Then, place your squash halves into a roasting pan and drizzle them with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Finally, turn the squash flesh side down, add about a half cup of water to the pan and bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 60 to 75 minutes, until softened and the flesh can easily be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
When your squash is baked to your liking, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then flip it over and gently scrape the flesh with a fork to form long strands that look just like spaghetti.
There isn’t even a special technique to do that… it all happens naturally, you’ll see!
All that’s left to do now is serve your squash while it’s still piping hot, garnished with a little bit of freshly chopped thyme, or any other herb that you prefer.
And maybe a little bit more evoo, for a little added richness, why not?
- 1 large or 2 smallish spaghetti squash
- 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Generous sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper
- Fresh thyme to garnish, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- Cut the squash in half and scoop out the guts and seeds with a spoon; place the squash halves in a roasting pan and drizzle them with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
- Turn the squash flesh side down, add about ½ cup of water to the pan and bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 60-75 minutes, until the squash feels soft when squeezed and the skin and flesh can easily be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
- When your squash is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then flip the halves over and gently scrape the flesh with a fork to form strands that resemble spaghetti.
- Serve piping hot, garnished with a little bit of fresh thyme (or other herb of your choice), if desired.