When Spaghetti Is a Vegetable

Spaghetti squash is a magical vegetable, a winter squash the flesh of which, once cooked, can be pulled into strands that resemble spaghetti with a fork. Most hounds prefer to roast or microwave spaghetti squash. They are very hard and require deft and careful cutting when raw. "I often partially roast mine whole to make it easier to cut—10 minutes in the oven will soften it up enough to cut through, and then you can continue roasting the two halves," says biondanonima. katecm pokes a few holes in the whole squash, then microwaves it in five-minute increments until a fork pierces it easily; let cool a few minutes, then halve, remove seeds, and pull the flesh out with a fork.

Once you've cooked the squash, you can simply toss it with butter and salt and pepper, or with olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan, or with the same tomato, pesto, or Alfredo sauce you'd use with pasta.

rosepoint loves this spaghetti squash gratin with walnut and bacon. It's nice "when you want to really treat the squash as a side dish." HillJ uses spaghetti squash to make a crust for quiche: Chop the flesh and mix with a generous handful of grated Parmesan, some plain breadcrumbs, and chopped fresh sage and thyme. Press into the bottom and sides of two pie plates or a muffin tin, pour in your favorite quiche filling, and bake.

Discuss: Spaghetti Squash Recipes

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