Let’s look at the humble spaghetti squash.
I marvel that someone, one day long ago, had the idea to cut this open, take a gamble and eat it. That goes for pretty much anything we eat, doesn’t it? Someone looked at something and thought, can I eat this? How many things were tasted with disasterous results? We now Google to our heart’s content, the safety of anything we dare to consume and the best ways to do so. Imagine being the first person to see a squash. Pale outer skin. Curious quasi-football shape. Did someone bite into the tough rind? Was it bitter? Was it first viewed as a weapon? Did warriors lob this at one another? Was it used to bring down prey? Who knows, and really, who cares.
Someone had the brilliant idea to heat this to increase its palliability and for that, I am grateful.
I like to get my squash, almost all of my produce really, from Spud. They deliver local, organic goods right to my door. I love supporting local farmers. With a simple cut and simpler prep, you have the start of a beautiful dish or side. This really is easy and tasty. Two things I like.
After eating spaghetti squash for a couple of years, struggling to cut it open and feeling slightly underwhelmed by the cooked product, I learned I was doing it all wrong. I didn’t season it prior to cooking (first mistake) and, I was cutting it lengthwise. I fought to cleave my way through the stem end. I would wrestle my chef knife into the tough skin, cursing under my breath until I managed to get it free, only to make the next dangerous cut. When it comes to cutting anything, I’ve learned the hard way, with a few impromptu trips to the emergency room, if you are struggling, stop right there. You never want to argue with a knife. You won’t win.
Fast forward through many a squash and many a knife fight.
One day, it crossed my mind to grab my paring knife instead of my large Shun chef knife. Honestly, a revelation. The easy factor of cooking this squash went up ten-fold. Plus, when you cut your spaghetti squash crosswise, you get nice long strands. It looks more like spaghetti and isn’t that the look we are going for?
So, in a nutshell:
Prepping spaghetti squash:
Preheat your oven to 375
Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Use the sharp tip of your paring knife to make small cuts through the skin. Think about carving a pumpkin. Use the same kind of small, piercing cuts to go around the squash. Cut your spaghetti squash crosswise and scoop out the seeds. Crack some black pepper and salt into the hollow of the squash. Don’t skip this step, it really adds great flavour to the final taste.
Place it cut side down on the cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. I found if I shut the oven off and leave the squash in the oven until I am ready to eat, it continues to steam to perfect tenderness. Use a fork to remove the strands into your serving bowl. Or, loosen the strands and add your sauce into the squash “bowl” and tuck in.
This pairs really nicely with my Un-Pasta Sauce.