There are many varieties of squash available at the grocery store and farm stands. Spaghetti squash, also know as calabash squash or vegetable spaghetti, is really quite unique because when cooked looks like thin translucent strands of thin spaghetti. It has a mild, delicate flavor somewhat like that of yellow summer squash and watery texture.
Spaghetti squash has a rounded shape and can vary in weight and size. The ones I bought weighed almost four pounds and were about 9 inches long.
When you buy spaghetti squash, it should have a nice lemon yellow color. If it is green it means that it is under ripe.
Washing and Cleaning Spaghetti Squash
Begin by washing the squash with a vegetable brush under running water.
Dry it well so that it does not slip when you are cutting into the squash.
To cut spaghetti squash you need a big, heavy kitchen knife. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise.
Cutting the squash is the most difficult part of preparing the squash! It is like making that first cut into a melon, which can be tricky if you are not using a knife that can handle the task.
Using a spoon, scrape away the seeds and stringy bits….
…until the inside is clean.
Cooking Spaghetti Squash
I’m going to show you how to roast spaghetti squash in the oven and also how to cook it in the microwave. Normally these two cooking methods provide very different results. Roasting vegetables often makes them crispy and brings out their natural sweetness. Surprisingly enough, there is virtually no difference in the taste or texture when spaghetti squash is cooked in the oven vs. the microwave!
Preheat the oven to 400º F ( = 200º C = gas mark 6-moderately hot.)
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on cut side of the squash and rub it around with your fingers.
Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
Place the squash, cut side down in an oven-proof dish.
Depending on the size of your squash, it will take approximately 35-45 minutes to get tender.
Place the squash in a microwave-safe dish…
…cut side down.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap…
…being sure to leave a steam vent.
Cook the squash on high for approximately 7-10 minutes – depending on the size of your squash and how powerful your microwave is. If you do not have an automatic turntable in your microwave, give the dish a turn every 3 minutes to ensure even cooking.
Remove the plastic wrap with a pair of tongs and be very careful of the built up steam.
Note: I do not recommend cooking the squash WHOLE in the microwave. Some recipes have you pierce the whole squash about 20 or 30 times with a knife (so the squash does not explode in the microwave). Then stick it in the microwave whole. It is very difficult to cut and remove the seeds and stringy bits from a steaming hot squash.
How to Make the Squash Look Like Spaghetti
Once you have removed the squash from the oven or microwave, check to see if it is cooked by sticking a knife into it. The knife should slide in easily.
If you have over cooked the squash it will taste fine but the texture will be creamy and you will not be able to make the spaghetti like strands.
Flip the squash over with a spatula so that the cut side is facing up. (Be careful as it will be very hot!)
The above photo is of the oven roasted squash
Using a dinner fork, scrape the flesh of the squash….
…moving gently around the shell….
…fluffing up the strands of squash.
Turning the squash into spaghetti strands takes about 10 seconds!
You can then serve the squash as is or remove it to a serving plate. It will be very hot so hold the squash in a dish cloth so you don’t burn your hand.
The above photo is of the microwave cooked squash
Decision time! What do I now do with this squash?
I like to add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of basil infused olive oil, and some salt and pepper!
P.S. Just for the heck of it, I tried freezing the leftover spaghetti squash. WRONG! It turned into spaghetti squash mush. It tasted fine but the spaghetti texture did not hold up at all!
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