I balk at every Pinterest pin that touts the “easiest” way to cook a spaghetti squash, because it usually involves cutting the uncooked squash. Have you ever taken a knife to an uncooked winter squash? It’s straight-up dangerous (that is, if you, like me, don’t really ever sharpen your knives). I’ve let squashes sit in my pantry for weeks only because I didn’t want to commit the effort — unfortunate, really, because squash is delicious.
The first time I tried a spaghetti squash was about five years ago when I had a slight obsession with what remains my favorite food blog to this day, Smitten Kitchen. I wanted to try every recipe I could within my budget, and the author, Deb, had shared a very tasty spaghetti squash dish that I have since made several times. Her cooking method, cooking and then cutting, was my only frame of reference for dealing with spaghetti squash.
Let me tell you, having tried both ways, my way is easier. You’re going to be scooping out of a hot, steaming squash at the end regardless of which method you use, so why not put off cutting it open until it’s soft?
First preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prick your squash all over with a sharp knife so steam can be released as it cooks.
Set your squash in any oven-proof dish or pan with sides. Sometimes liquid drips out of the punctured parts.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Jab with a knife or fork to test doneness. It’s done when the knife makes it to the middle with little resistance. The outside may be lightly browned.
Turn off heat and, using hot pads or thick towels, set squash out on a heat-proof cutting board. Slice it in half lengthwise and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
It will still be pretty warm, so be careful when handling. Use a spoon to scoop out the guts in the middle, but don’t fuss over that too much. You won’t be able to tell the difference between the flesh and any stringies later. You just don’t want any surprise seeds in your meal.
Discard the guts unless you think of a better use for them.
Then use a fork to break up and shred the yummy part. Serve in your favorite recipe, as a pasta substitute, or store it for several days in the fridge to dish out when needed. I like to add at least butter and salt while it’s still warm.