Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spaghetti Squash "Cacio e Pepe"

I love all vegetables, but there are some that I REALLY love, and that favored list includes spaghetti squash. So what better to make for a lazy Saturday lunch for myself?

Spaghetti squash was a total mystery to me until this fall, when I read this recipe on the amazing blog "Always Order Dessert" written by Reamonn's friend Alejandra. When I tried it out, I couldn't believe that I'd never made spaghetti squash before- it is so easy and delicious! As I've mentioned, I adore pasta and am constantly looking out for ways to make a heaping bowl of pasta a little healthier. This, similar to the zucchini/squash pasta preparation, is the perfect way to get that "big bowl of pasta" comfort food feeling and feel a little healthier too.

I loved Alejandra's sage and brown butter preparation, but my go-to for spaghetti squash lately has been a sort of "cacio e pepe"- a play on the traditional Roman black pepper and Pecorino Romano pasta. It really couldn't be simpler- after steaming the squash, I toss the strands with olive oil, lemon juice, a little butter, salt, cracked black pepper, and lots of Parmesan cheese. It's very flexible to pantry items; if I have cream in the fridge, I'll toss in a spoon of that as well to coat the strands, and sometimes add in some chopped Italian parsley or arugula (which I had today, yum) for color and a little additional flavor. It's comforting and delicious, the perfect bowl to curl up with on the couch during a lazy hour of tv watching.

*1 spaghetti squash
*Good extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon
*Butter, 1 tablespoon
* Lemon juice, to taste (roughly 1/2 tablespoon)
*Grated Parmesan or Peccorino Romano cheese, 1 tablespoon
*Chopped Italian parsley or baby arugula leaves, 1 tablespoon
* salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a sharp knife to split the spaghetti squash in half. Place both halves face down in a roasting pan filled with about an inch of water, and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the skin of the squash pierces it easily. Flip the squash and cook, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.

Let cool. Use a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds from the middle of the squash. Then, use a fork to scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skin- it should pull off in thin strands, like spaghetti.

Toss the spaghetti squash with butter, olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, parsley or arugula, salt, and pepper.


  1. You continue to just amaze me! How come when you come down you already have announced you are not cooking?? NOT FAIR!!

    Have a great Valentine's Day dinner- sounds awesome!

    Love you! Mom

  2. Loved the spaghetti squash tutorial. I always wondered how to prepare it. The pictures really help! We always have jars of Uncle Jon's homemade marinara in the freezer. I may try it your way or mix it with his sauce. It looks like a winner either way! How you juggle this with your job and school is AMAZING!
    Love, Aunt Sue