The spaghetti squash is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. Most of the time it is ivory to yellow or orange in color. When I buy spaghetti squash I tend to stick with ivory to yellow; however, the orange varieties have a higher carotene content than the yellow to ivory. Its center contains many large seeds similar to those found in pumpkins. Before cooking, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.
Now that you know what a spaghetti squash is, why don’t I tell you a few ways to cook it? This type of winter squash can be baked, boiled, steamed, or cooked pretty much any other way you can think of. You can even microwave it (although I almost always bake it).
At this point if you are thinking to yourself, “Well, I hate squash,” I would say that you need to try this next recipe anyway because this type of squash does not really taste or act like a squash.
Simple, Stranded, and Delicious
The first recipe that I would like to share with you is simply entitled Spaghetti Squash 1. Yes it is that creative. Beside the lack of a inventive title this really is a good dish to get your feet wet when mastering the art of cooking a spaghetti squash.
One helpful hint that I would give with this dish is to wait to cut the squash until after you have baked it in the oven. Put puncture holes in the squash and then bake it; it is much easier to cut once it has baked. I have broken knives and put slash marks on my counter trying to cut spaghetti squashes before. But remember: if you don’t put puncture holes in it it will explode. I’m just sayin’.
The only other suggestion that I would make is to use olive oil rather than vegetable oil and fresh sea salt and ground pepper.
Double Your Squash Pleasure
This next dish is a little strange and I will admit that I am on a pumpkin kick, this being fall and all, but I really like this dish and I hope you will as well. The recipe is entitled Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and that is just what it is.
The only thing that I would change about this recipe is that I would not use baking spray because it is the worst thing you can do to a baking pan or cooking sheet; use olive oil instead to grease the sheet. I would add more cheese and put it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. But other than that I would say that it is a unique keeper that you can take to a potluck, and makes a great side dish.
More Cheese, Please
This last recipe, which I love, is Spaghetti Squash Alfredo, because who doesn’t love a good alfredo sauce? I know that this isn’t the best sauce recipe out there, but I like it because it is nice and easy and hits that same spots that a really complicated sauce hits for me. If you have an alfredo sauce that you like better, by all means use it or substitute in another recipe’s sauce. It’s really up to you.
There are just a few little things that I would change, as always. I would add garlic, because all things are better with garlic, which I would sauté and put into the sauce. I would also not use the water in the sauce (it just makes it very runny) and would add more cheese.
Now, go out to your local market and buy a spaghetti squash -- fall is calling you!
Photo credits: Forest & Kim Starr,