How Do I Buy and Prep Spaghetti Squash?

Put down that jar of tomato sauce; here’s how to make the most delicious spaghetti squash.

Published Jan. 10, 2023.

I’m not here to extoll the virtues of vegetables masquerading as carbs; squash is not spaghetti and should not be treated as such. However, spaghetti squash’s long, twirlable strands are undeniably fun to eat, and with the right treatment (I’m talking something rich and creamy, such as the spaghetti squash gratin that we pair with roasted chicken thighs), it can be (almost) as delicious as pasta.

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To start, select a large spaghetti squash that’s firm with no soft spots. Look for one that’s 3 to 3½ pounds but that also feels heavy for its size. 

When you’re ready to cook it, cut it in half lengthwise with a sturdy, sharp chef’s knife or cleaver (you can stabilize the squash on a damp dish towel if it feels too wobbly), and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. 

Season the squash with salt and cook it until it’s just tender but not mushy: either drizzle it with oil and roast it at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or microwave it in a covered bowl for about 15 minutes. 

Then, holding the hot squash shells with a towel or two, use a fork to scrape the squash flesh into noodle-y strands. Dump the strands into a colander, allowing any excess moisture to drip away so your finished dish isn’t watery.

. . . squash is not spaghetti and should not be treated as such.

Finally, if you want to taste nutty, delicate spaghetti squash at its full potential, stir it up with some cream and Parmesan and pop it under the broiler. Delicious!

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