Recently, in the grocery store, I over heard a lady asking a produce clerk how to cook a particular vegetable. I was curious as to what she was inquiring about so I peered over and noticed she was holding a spaghetti squash. She was asking the clerk if it was a spaghetti squash, how to cook it, for how long and using what cooking method. The produce clerk looked puzzled, confused and embarrassed that he had no answers to any of her questions.
After seeing this grocery store exchange I decided to write a blog on how to cook spaghetti squash. Cooking spaghetti squash is such an easy process that, in my opinion, can be easier then cooking its grain based pasta cousin. All you need to cook spaghetti squash is a squash, a knife, a baking sheet and an oven. It doesn’t get any more basic then that and the oven does all the work!
Spaghetti squashes come in various shapes and sizes. They range from very small to very large. When selecting a spaghetti squash choose one that is not shiny and firm to the touch. The squash should be free of dark soft spots and deep cracks. The squash should be somewhat heavy in comparison to its size. The squash can range in color from very pale yellow to a very deep, almost orange, yellow. The color has no effect on the quality of the squash so it should not be a determining factor.
Spaghetti squash can be prepared in a variety of ways including boiling, microwaving, steaming and baking. I have tried all of these methods and prefer to bake or roast spaghetti squash. Baking the squash locks in the flavor and provides for the best squash consistency. Roasting spaghetti squash can be done oil free, like how I have listed below, or you can add olive oil to the squash prior to baking.
How To – Cook Spaghetti Squash
1 medium sized spaghetti squash
Extra sharp, strong knife
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash. Using a sharp, strong knife, carefully cut the squash into two equal halves, lengthwise. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the seeds out from each squash half. Place the halves, face down, on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Each squash will roast differently, especially due to the difference in squash sizes. Because of this difference, it is crucial to check the squash after this 30 minute mark. Most of the time the squash will be done and can be taken out of the oven. However, there are times when the squash is not finished roasting and will need more time in the oven. Like pasta, spaghetti squash can be cooked to the fit your texture preference. I prefer my pasta and my spaghetti squash to be on the al dente side, so I never roast a squash longer then 30 minutes. The longer you roast the squash the softer the strands will become.
The texture of the strands can be tested using a fork. After removing the squash from the over, carefully turn over one of the halves and, using a fork, scrap the inside of the squash. If there is a lot of resistance then the squash needs to go back in the oven to roast for more time. If the strands come away nicely and are somewhat soft, then the squash is finished roasting and can be set aside to cool slightly before serving. You can also sample the squash strands to see if the texture fits your preference. Also note that while the squash cools outside of the over, the strands will continue to cook. Because of this, I have always found it is better to under cook the squash slightly and then let it finish cooking while it is cooling.