Tempted by the Pinterest-pretty pictures of roasted halves of spaghetti squash forked into appetizing carb-free strands of what looks like guiltless spaghetti, you’ll no doubt, like me, rush to the market to grab your Curcurbita pepo.
Back home, you’ll eagerly following blog directions that insist “it’s so simple.”
Don’t be fooled.
What Not to Do
Such blog posts will suggest you preheat your oven to 350°, which you will unquestioningly do. To prep the squash, you’ll proceed to cut the squash in half—or, at least try to cut the squash in half—and in 10 minutes time, your heart rate will be up and you’ll have narrowly missed severing three fingers.
There’s nothing in that blog about what to do if cutting a spaghetti squash open is like sawing through concrete with your bare hands. But you got this, right? About 40 minutes later, that sucker will be halved, seeds removed, and set on a baking sheet, glistening with extra-virgin olive oil, and salt and peppered. You’re panting, but it’s ready to go in the oven. So, close!
The timer is set for 30 minutes and now you’ll wait, hanxious (hungry and anxious) for your hard work to deliver a golden roasted pasta substitute packed with potassium and beta-carotene. The timer goes off and you’ll pull the sheet pan out of the oven and start slashing at the squash with your fork.
But nothing’s happening.
It’s not turning into pasta like magic because it looks raw, with no golden brown roasting marks in sight. You’ll put it back in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. Ding! It’s still raw, and looking a little dry.
You burn your hand adding more olive oil and it goes back in the oven. You’ll sit intensely in front of the window watching for this thing to turn perfect like it’s your final bake. Another 45 minutes, and it’s ready, but you’re not hungry because you snacked on a pack of cookies and ate all the chips with salsa during that extra hour.
This will be your spaghetti squash fate, if you’re anything like me.
How to do it Right
I’m a professional, damn it! So, I decided to figure out a fool-proof way to achieve the squash of my dreams.
Conquer your spaghetti squash by preheating the oven to 425°. Rinse the entire squash under cool water and dry to remove any dirt and debris. Pierce the skin four times with a fork and toss the whole squash into the oven on a cookie sheet.
That’s right, you’re baking it whole.
Bake smaller squash for about 40 minutes, up to an hour for a larger squash, and flip over halfway through cook time for even baking. You can tell it’s done when the squash feels soft under the push of a wooden spoon.
Remove and cool the squash enough to handle with a hot pad or glove, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Now you can effortlessly slip a chef’s knife right through the center, end to end. No hand-saw required.
Stand back to let it steam once it’s opened. Then, use a metal spoon to easily scoop out seeds. Use a fork to pull and separate the squash into al dente strands.
Toss the squash strands with a little salt, pepper, grated Romano, and olive oil to serve cacio e pepe-style, or incorporate them into another favorite pasta recipe.
Now, that was easy.
Common Spaghetti Squash Questions Answered
What does spaghetti squash taste like? It tastes like squash, not pasta. But the mild flavor is a wonderful base for delicious sauces that you'd normally use to bathe your noodles.
Is eating spaghetti squash good for you? This squash has only about 30 calories per cup, almost 2 grams of fiber, and a gram of protein, making it an awesome option for those on calorie-restricted or low-carb diets. It should be noted that it does have about 7 grams of carbs per cup, thanks to the natural sugars.
Can you eat spaghetti squash on keto? Yes! It isn't 100% carb-free,with about 7 grams of carbs per cup, so you'll have to eat it in moderation.