Spaghetti squash is something I’ve known about for awhile, have always wanted to try, but I never got around to making it. I think it had something to do with the fact that squashes are heavy, and I carry all my groceries home on foot. It’s always easier to opt to buy the bag of potatoes right in the neighborhood than it is to lug a winter squash home from the Trader Joe’s next to work. But this month’s Recipe Redux challenge (cooking with the orange colors of fall) provided me with the perfect opportunity to try to cook an ingredient I’d always been curious about.
After a leisurely hour and 15 minutes in the oven, my experiment was ready. I’d roasted whole garlic cloves right alongside the squash, and complement the dish with some Parmesan cheese. I know a lot of recipes out there use spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta, but I really wanted the flavor of the squash to come through. That way, it’s easier to know what you’re working with, and if you go on to make dishes in which it substitutes for pasta, you know what it tastes like and can expect something ever so slightly different than real spaghetti.
Overall, the dish came out great. I liked the combination of squash, roasted garlic, and Parmesan lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. The process of pulling out the strands of spaghetti was also easy. What surprised me, though, was how difficult the seeds were to get out (pulling a large amount of spaghetti-shaped strands with each seed… oh well) and how squarely this recipe fits into the autumnal side dish category. I’d originally made it as a Saturday afternoon snack, but I feel it really needs a dish of substance alongside it to really satisfy.
Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Cheese
1 medium spaghetti squash
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled with the papery skin still on
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and roast the spaghetti squash for 1 hour and 15 minutes. With 20 minutes left in the cooking time, rub a generous amount of olive oil into the garlic cloves and place them on the same baking sheet as the squash and roast for 20 minutes.
2. Remove the squash and garlic from the oven. Peel the garlic and squeeze the soft, roasted garlic insides into a small bowl. When the squash is cool enough to handle, slice it in half and use a large spoon to remove the seeds. Then use the spoon to pull the squash flesh off the sides. It should come off in ribbons resembling spaghetti.
3. Mix the squash, garlic, Parmesan, salt & pepper together in a bowl. Serve as a side to any fall main course.