Spaghetti squash makes a nice change of pace from pasta. You can use it just as you would spaghetti, and I’ve also used it in place of lasagna noodles and even in “pasta” salad. It’s a great choice if you’re trying to watch calories, with just 35 per serving versus 210 for pasta.
Admittedly, for long-range cruising, spaghetti squash won’t totally replace pasta, which is lighter, takes up less space and lasts practically forever. But spaghetti squash doesn’t do too badly, lasting (uncut) a month or more at room temperature.
It’s also incredibly easy to cook, whether baked, boiled or in a microwave. Here’s how I do it:
You can cook spaghetti squash whole, but cutting it into quarters before cooking makes it a better size for fitting into pans and gets part of the prep done before it’s hot. I first cut it in half the short way as it’s easier to hold it steady than cutting it lengthwise first. It’s not hard to cut through if you use a large sharp knife.
Then I cut each piece in half lengthwise, standing it on end and cutting the stem off to make it easier. If needed to fit your pan, you can cut it in smaller pieces . . . but that also means that the “spaghetti strands” will be shorter.
Then use a spoon to scoop the seeds out of each quarter. Discard the seeds.
To boil, place pieces in any pan with a lid, add enough water to cover the squash about halfway, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down to simmer about 20 minutes.
To bake, place in a baking pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F. for about 30 minutes.
To microwave, place on a plate or any microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 7 to 10 minutes — exact time will depend on how powerful the microwave is and how many pieces you cook at once.
However you cook it, squash is done when you can pierce it easily with a fork. Place one piece of squash on a plate or cutting board. Run a fork lengthwise through the squash to loosen the strands and scoop them out. If the squash is too hot to hold, use another fork to hold it in place. Discard the skins.
Put the strands in a bowl and drain the excess water, squeezing gently. I use a couple of forks for this.
Serve as you would spaghetti and enjoy!
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