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Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is easy to bake, and fun to eat.  The squash pictured here got a little over-baked...not enough to register as an Epic Kitchen Fail, but not really demonstrating spaghetti squash at its best, either.  Usually it comes off in long strands once baked, just like pasta!  

Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS

1 spaghetti squash, washed and patted dry

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350° F.  With a sharp knife, carefully poke the squash's waxy rind all over with small, shallow holes (please watch your fingers!).  About 10-15 holes will allow the steam to escape during baking.  Place the squash in a glass 9 x 13 baking dish, and fill the bottom of the pan with about a shallow layer of water.  Please watch your hands as you take the bulky squash in and out of your oven...I wear baking mitts just so I don't accidentally bump the upper oven element--ouch!  Bake for 30 minutes.  

Remove pan from oven and, with oven mitts still on, put the hot squash on a cutting board.  Carefully cut the stem & top of the squash off--makes it easier to cut the squash down the middle in a minute.  I've found that using a large serrated bread knife is easier when cutting into things with hard rinds, like squash, than a regular sharp butcher's-style knife is.  Now slice the squash lengthwise in half, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp at the core of the squash.  

Place the squash halves facedown in the 9 x 13, and add a little more water if some has evaporated off.  Return the pan to oven and bake for another 30 minutes.  Check the squash at this point--the bright-yellow flesh should be tender, and you should be able to pull it into spaghetti-like strings by gently scraping the squash lengthwise with a fork.  If it's still crunchy, return facedown to the oven for another 15 minutes or so until tender.  (If you overcook the squash, it will still taste good, but won't go into strings of "spaghetti"--turns into a consistency more like cooked pumpkin.)

Pull the squash into spaghetti strands with a fork right in the shell, top with butter, salt & pepper, and serve hot.  Enjoy!

Left to right: spaghetti squash; poked full of holes and ready to bake; after 30 minutes, scraping the seeds and pulp out; and the finished product (I overcooked this one so the strands of "spaghetti" are kind of mushy here...)