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Thursday, April 15, 2010

How To Cook a Spaghetti Squash (and make it taste really good)

If you've never cooked spaghetti squash it can be one of those daunting vegetables make makes you look the other way...but if you try it you'll find it really is simple to prepare, and fun too. This is a simple recipe that will make even the most mundane vegetable taste great. It's really a variation on the classic aglio e olio (oil and garlic), and one that I've posted on my blog in many variations. One of the differences with this version is that you first have to contend with the spaghetti squash itself...but it's quite simple and here's how to do it.

Start by splitting it lengthwise with a sharp knife, taking care not to slip with the knife as some of the squash can be large.

Next, scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Spaghetti squash can be cooked in any number of ways (boiling, steaming, roasting, etc.) and in the professional kitchen I more often than not roast it, but at home I will usually microwave it for a few minutes (yes two years ago I actually broke down and purchased one). Anyhow, to do this, put a few tablespoons of water in the squash half, place a paper towel on top of it, and microwave it for about 5-7 minutes (depending on the power of your microwave).

Once it is cool enough to handle (I usually pick it up with a towel), pull the innards of the squash onto a plate...it will shred naturally into spaghetti-like strands, hence its name.

Now here's where the oil and garlic comes in (and you can use this following technique for virtually any vegetable or pasta). Place a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper in a cold pan with some virgin olive oil (yes it should be a cold pan so the flavors slowly leech out as the oil heats. Also add a little sea salt. Cook and stir the garlic and peppers in the pan until the garlic is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic (it goes from browned to burned in seconds).

Add the still-warm squash to the pan and toss and stir it into the flavored oil. If you'd like, chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese are also excellent additions.  This makes a great side dish, or even the bed to a main course with sauteed chicken or shrimp. Delicious.


Urban Simplicity.

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