Spaghetti squash is a fairly large, pale yellow winter squash with a unique texture. When it's cooked, the flesh separates into strands, which resemble traditional spaghetti. Plenty of people like to put all kinds of sauces on spaghetti squash, as if the strand-like flesh were actual pasta. It's a great substitute for pasta for those who are following a gluten-free diet or who just want to eat more veggies. On its own, irrespective of the role it may play as a substitute pasta, this squash has a rather delicate texture and slightly sweet taste. When roasted, it can be delicious when served relatively plain, with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper, as it is here. It's also very good to douse the strands in a creamy carbonara or Alfredo sauce, or even a straightforward tomato sauce. (If you're pressed for time, you can cook in the microwave, and those instructions follow, but roasting gives you a sweeter taste.)
Spaghetti squash is typically big. Most are at least 4 pounds, which will yield a solid 8 cups of cooked squash, and unless you're feeding a crowd, it's unlikely you can eat it all in one sitting. Luckily, spaghetti squash freezes well after roasting, so just separate out whatever you're not going to serve, store it in containers, and pop them in the freezer to use later.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Butter (to taste, about 1 tablespoon per serving)
- Dash sea salt (to taste)
- Dash pepper (to taste)
- Optional: grated Parmesan, pecorino, or aged Gouda
Gather the ingredients. Preheat an oven to 375 F.
Poke the spaghetti squash all over with a fork.
Set the squash in a roasting pan or just on a piece of foil and bake until tender, at least an hour and up to 90 minutes or even more if the squash is a giant one. You should be able to pierce it easily with a fork—since you just poked it all over when it was raw, you should be able to feel a definite difference.
Cut off and discard the stem end, cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
Use a fork to scrape the cooked spaghetti squash into strands.
While still warm, top the cooked spaghetti squash with a pat of butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
How To Cook Squash in Microwave
Poke the spaghetti squash all over with a fork, then microwave it on high for 5 minutes. Poke it a bit more to see how it's cooking, then microwave in 2-minute bursts until the squash is cooked and tender all the way through—about a total of 10 to 12 minutes.
How Do You Cook Spaghetti Squash Without It Getting Soggy?
It's very easy for spaghetti squash to become soggy if it's not handled properly. You can also cook it in a pressure cooker, but roasting really brings out the sweetness and eliminates a lot of the moisture that can contribute to mushy squash.
Also, some home cooks swear by salting their squashes and letting them sit for 15 to 20 minutes before roasting them, in order to draw some of the moisture out.
You may also be tempted to drizzle olive oil over the top of this veggie once you get comfortable with it, but depending on how moist the squash is to begin with, adding oil can contribute to sogginess. The goal with spaghetti squash is to remove as much moisture as possible while it roasts, in order to achieve the best consistency and texture.
Because spaghetti squash's flavor is so subtly sweet, it works well with a variety of flavor profiles. Here are a few options, but feel free to experiment.
How to Store Spaghetti Squash
Once cooked, spaghetti squash will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days if it's stored in an airtight container. Spaghetti squash will also freeze well. It's best to drain it in a colander, as you would spaghetti or any other pasta, to remove as much moisture as possible. Before freezing, discard any water and transfer the cooked squash to freezer bags. Squeeze the air out, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge and use it according to your recipe's instructions.