Sunday, November 23

Hey, Dad, I Finally Like Spaghetti Squash!

scooping out spaghetti squash

No, this is not a picture of a sea anemone. It's spaghetti squash. And though my mom doesn't like it, she makes it all the time for my dad since it's his favorite type of squash. Her favorite, by the way, is buttercup. I know this because the three of us have the same conversation every year as if it's a revelation:

Dad: "What did you buy at the farmers' market this week?"

Me: "Some butternut squash."

Mom: "Ooh, yeah? I love butternut squash. But you know what's even better? Buttercup. You should try it."

Me: "Yeah, Mom, I have tried it, but I don't like it as much as butternut."

Mom: "How could you not like buttercup squash?!"

Dad: "You know what the best squash is? Spaghetti squash. Your mother makes it with tomato sauce and cheese. Oh, I love it like that. You should try it."

Me: "Yeah, Dad, I have tried it, but I don't like it as much as butternut."

Mom: "Oh, yes, your father loves that spaghetti squash. I don't. Blegh."

Dad: "How could you not like spaghetti squash?!" (Then, convinced that this is the year he will persuade me) "Well, you don't know what you're missing."

spaghetti squash

Well, Dad, you'll be happy to hear I finally agree with you. I didn't know what I was missing, until last week. My local supermarket had a sale on winter squash, so I ran right over to stock up on acorn and butternut, only to find a bin filled with a dozen spaghetti squash. Yeah, sure, I thought, that's cause no one wants it. Since I cannot pass up a bargain, I bought one anyway.

I had buyer's remorse the minute I got home. I didn't want it with tomato sauce. Let's face it, spaghetti squash is not the same as spaghetti no matter how hard you try. Then I thought of making an herb pesto but was all out of sage. And that's when it hit me. My favorite way to eat real spaghetti is with butter and salt.

Once the squash was cooked, I excitedly scooped out the cooked flesh, which is the best part of cooking spaghetti squash anyway. Then I added butter, salt and black pepper, and some grated Reggiano-Parmigiano.

It was good. OK, it was better than good. It was delicious. It tasted like, well, spaghetti. The firm luminescent gold strands of flesh become deliciously coated with melted butter just like pasta. For a richer more savory flavor, sprinkle some fresh thyme, rosemary, or parsley on the squash before serving. This is a simple, fresh, and comforting side dish that I'll be happy to make again.

My parents and I will likely have our annual squash talk this week. I have a feeling it's going to end a little differently this year though. So, what's your favorite squash?

spaghetti squash with butter, cheese, and thyme

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Butter and Cheese
Makes 4 servings
Print recipe only here.

1 small spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons grated Reggiano-Parmigiana cheese, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
a few pinches of coarse sea salt and several cranks of freshly ground black pepper
a sprinkling of fresh thyme, basil, or parsley, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking pan with tinfoil (for easy clean up). Place squash halves flesh side down and pierce all over with a fork. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until tender.

Using a fork scrape the hot flesh from the squash and place in a bowl. Add butter, 2 tablespoons cheese, and salt and pepper. Lightly toss until well combined. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese and herbs, if using. Serve immediately.

You might also like:

Olive Oil, Caramelized Onion, and Sage Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Acorn Squash with Medjool Dates and Toasted Almonds

I'm sending this to Scott of Real Epicurean who is the hosting this week's Weekend Herb Blogging, now managed by Haalo.

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MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Radical Susan! I think I must try this idea when I'm home. I may use sage but I think that will be ok with you.

Stacey Snacks said...

I love butternut squash the best, but they are delish.
Great photos of strings!

Anonymous said...

I love acorn squash! Actually, carnival squash is even more awesome, but they don't sell it in my local supermarket :(.

Anonymous said...

Sooo good right now. I just made a similar version last week...


Chris said...

I am a huge fan of spaghetti fact, it usually doesn't last long for me to prepare it after I scoop the pulp out. But, my fav? Butternut. :)

Lori Lynn said...

Charming dialog with your folks! I can relate.
Love your photos!

Anonymous said...

You crack me up! On my end, I'm a huge butternut squash fan, and have only experiences spaghetti squash through photos. But, since you add butter and cheese .... this could well be a temptation to branch out.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love Spaghetti Squash! It is so versatile and delicate tasting. A
wonderful way of preparing it! Yummy!



Finla said...

I have never had them. I didn't even know theer was something like this.

sunita said...

I have never heard/seen spaghetti squash...but i think i'll love it. Thew simplicity of your dish is so admirable :-)

Btw, we are huge fans of butternut squash :-)

Anonymous said...

i like all types of squash - i'm that much of a squash junkie! i love the spaghetti ones too. my mum made them in a soup and i remember calling it sharksfin squash as a kid just cause i thought the bits split apart like cooked sharksfin. of course, now i don't eat sharksfin - results of watching a shark documentary!! beautiful photos. x

Culinary Wannabe said...

I love butternut squash too. But I'm curious about this buttercup squash - I've never heard of it before!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Growing up the only squash my mom enjoyed was spaghetti squash so I thought that is all there was...I have known what I was missing for years now...and yes the best way to have any squash (at least in my opinion) is with a little butter, salt and pepper!!!!

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I don't think I've seen or encountered this version of squash before. I'm loving the flavours especially the butter and Parmigiano...sounds mighty delicious.

Sarah said...

I love a good acorn squash. I enjoy the way it caramelizes into rich little mouthfuls and its round shape is easier to manipulate than butternut.

Thalia said...

I don't really like squash (gasp!), except for zucchini. Yellow is good sauteed in bacon grease, while the green makes the best bread. Well, and a combo of acorn and butternut squash makes a better-than-pumpkin pie (but that's just because I don't like pumpkins).

NĂºria said...

That conversation is so funny Susan! It's like seeing my parents there... they would use the same words, the samer order, the same sentences :D :D

But, I've never tried the spaguetti squash... you make it sound wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I love Delicata and Carnival squash. I almost caused a landslide at the market while rooting through the squash bin for a half dozen Delicata. Thankfully another woman grabbed onto the shifting pile and we both managed to prevent an embarrassing disaster. She then bought several Delicata upon my urging.

I've never tried a spaghetti squash- I may have to do it up how you describe with butter and fresh herbs. That does sound pretty good.

Unknown said...

My favorite squash is kabocha, which is the most common type here in Japan. It's a variety of buttercup squash and sweeter than butternut. I love it cubed and steamed, served with butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar (not at all Japanese), though it is tasty plain too. Have not tried it with seasonings listed here, but have had it often included with vegetable tempura, and thus eaten with grated daikon (Japanese radish) and tentsuyu sauce.

Michelle said...

I think I like all squash! My least favorite is acorn because it's the hardest to peel and cut. Lately I've been trying to using squashes like kuri or kabocha with thin skins that you can leave on and eat. So I'm not sure if spaghetti squash is my fave but I do know that I toast the seeds of every squash I make and spaghetti squash seeds are the best!

Anonymous said...

So in the end you prepared it like spaghetti anyway ;) Looks good! I think my favorite squash is still butternut but maybe I'll have to try this out.

indosungod said...

Love the look of the dish. I guess my problem has been to use spaghetti squash like butternut squash and not liking the stringy texture. I purchase butternut squash atleast once a week and like whichever form it is cooked.

The trick is to keep spaghetti in mind while cooking this squash!duh! you might say.

FOODalogue said...

I agree with your Dad. I prefer spaghetti squash with tomato sauce & parmesan. It makes it taste more like...well, spaghetti. But my favorite squash is acorn.

Karen said...

It's been a long time since I had spaghetti squash. I love all winter squash, but my favorite might be banana squash. Yum!

Patsyk said...

I just discovered that I love roasted butternut squash recently. I have an acorn squash waiting for me to prepare it - soon as I figure out how it will taste best!

Manggy said...

You are forgetting the next logical part of the conversation, which is:
Susan: How can you two not like butternut squash?!
Hee hee hee :)

I also had to snicker of the thought of people forcing spaghetti squash to be spaghetti just because of the resemblance (we don't get it here, as far as I know). Your way sounds much, much more delicious!

Christine said...

Brava to you Susan! I adore spaghetti squash just the way you've served it here. Certainly butternut is a favorite around my kitchen but recently I've discovered the red kabocha and a lovely French heirloom called Cinderella here in the states.

ames said...

Mmmmm, makes me want some right now! We've also made it with just butter and honey for a sweeter side, so simple and yummy!

Janet said...

Your squash looks Ah-mazing! I'm afraid to tell you that I've never eaten ANY kind of squash.. However, that is about to change this week because on Saturday morning my husband and I were watching Barefoot Contessa and saw her create roasted butternut squash drizzled with maple syrup. Well, I've been married to this man for 23 years and could not have been more surprised when he said, "Yum, butternut squash." Hello? Who are you and why haven't you EVER mentioned your love of squash before? So yesterday I printed off Ina Garten's recipe and bought my very first Butternut squash to roast and drizzle with maple syrup on Thursday. I asked if this could take the place of the sweet potatoes and he's agreed! I'll let you know!

Best, and a Very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


Ivy said...

This is new to me but it looks good. There's an Award for you on my blog.

Joanna said...

i am a spaghetti squash addict!!! i'm glad you like it now- i don't know how you couldn't.

i eat it with sour cream and sea salt. that's all i need.

Abby said...

I've never had spaghetti squash. I've always considered it 'diet food' because it's always suggested in place of pasta! It's high time I try it!

Darius T. Williams said...

Great pics...and the butter and cheese sounds great!


Anonymous said...

I discovered spaghetti squash when I was in college in the early 1970s, and it became the "in" vegetable for vegetarian main dishes. It was always served with tomato sauce and cheese, which I think did it a huge injustice.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

So funny that you didn't like it but bought it anyway because it was on sale! I never liked spaghetti squash when it pretended to be spaghetti, but I just might like it this way.

Anonymous said...

Fist time I am hearing about spaghetti squash. What an interesting recipe! I am intrigued. Must try some day. Looks so good! To answer your question - My fav squash is butternut squash.

Kalyn Denny said...

Well my favorite has always been butternut but today I cooked some buttercup and it was amazing (with Agave-Balsamic glaze!) I have a spaghetti squash on my counter begging to be cooked!

Emily said...

Gosh, I've never been so hungry for Spaghetti Squash.

Emily said...

Gosh, I've never been so hungry for Spaghetti Squash.

bee said...

what gorgeous pics. that is a vogue-worthy squash.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I'm not much of a squash lover in general (including pumpkin) except for when prepared in certain recipes.

However, I do like spaghetti squash. No, it's not spaghetti, but I find the texture more palatable then other squashes and I do substitute it for regular spaghetti with tomato sauce as a light lunch sometimes as it has way fewer calories than real pasta.

You inspired me when you said you considered making it with pesto.

ChichaJo said...

I'll have to say my heart belongs to butternut! Although we hardly get it over here...I'll keep my eye open for spaghetti squash though because this sounds fantastic!

grace said...

i do love spaghetti squash. and buttercup. and sweet dumpling. and carnival. heck, i love 'em all, but my favorite (for now) is delicata. what a lovely vegetable. :)

Debbie said...

My hsuband loves spaghetti squash and I have never made it. I will have to give it a try.

Deborah said...

this sounds like a great way to eat spaghetti squash! I'm a lover of all squash - and there are many out there that I haven't tried yet!

Rosie said...

My Favourite squash has to be butternut squash and I adore a soup I make out of this.

I have never tried spaghetti squash yet *blush*

Rosie x

Maria said...

Great photos! And butternut is my fav. I just love it!

Susan said...

I love this squash when I'm suffering carb overload. As you say, no one will ever mistake it for pasta, even under a ton of sauce and cheese, but it's funky and fun.

Maris said...

I love spaghetti squash. While I'm a true butternut girl at heart for soups, salads and pureed, spaghetti squash is delicious with tomato sauce and cheese, or underneath a pile of veggies for a guilt-free and filling meal.

Anonymous said...

I think we are squash/pumpkin barbarians over here. We pretty much call everything pumpkin. And I don't think spaghetti squash is something you can buy. It is intruiging though...for a squash barbarian like myself ;)
My favourite is the big orange pumpkin like you would use for carving for Halloween (don't know its name).

Sylvia said...

I hardly try , but ...My favorite is butternut squash

Asha said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and family, Susan. Enjoy and have a great time! :))

Butternut squash is my fave, I make hot and sweet stir fry. Goes well with the savory pancakes (dosas).

Anonymous said...

I love spaghetti squash topped with spaghetti sauce. My kids don't though. So when I serve them pasta I make squash for me. This way we're all happy! Here's the link to my recipe:

Unknown said...

I love spaghetti squash with butter and cheese!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

tanna-Sage would be excellent too.

stacey-They were fun to shoot too.

anon-Aw, that's too bad.:(


chris-Butternut is my fave too.

lori-I'm glad you liked it.

louise-Give it a try! :)

rosa-So glad you like it.

happycook-I hope you find some then.

sunita-It's available at most supermarkets, so you shouldn't have trouble finding it.

diva-What a fun name for kid-friendly soup! :)

cwannabe-I haven't seen it on the West Coast yet either.

val-Isn't that funny? Ususally that's the least made squash in people's homes.

peter-It's so appealing, isn't it?

sarah-Is there anything better than caramelized squash?

casevlyn-Don't like squash or pumpkins? Oh, my gosh, I think I need to conduct an intervention. ;)

nuria-Oh, that makes me smile. :)

kate-That is too funny. I actually prefer to to delicata, so I hope you try it.

wsponzani-I like kabocha too. It's at most of our markets here in SoCal. I'd love it as part of a veg tempura. That sounds wonderful.

michelle-Me too! You can leave the skin on the acorn too, then scoop out the cooked flesh.

hillary-Yup! :)

indosungod- I had that "duh" moment too. :)

foodalogue-My dad will feel vindicated when he reads your comment. :)

karen-Banana squash? That's new to me!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

patsyk-My fave is still the butternut.

mark-They do though! :) Thanks so much.

christine-I love the color of red kuri, but I haven't seen red kabocha yet. And Cinderella? That sounds enchanting.

ames-I'd never pass up some honey!

duchess- Thank you so much! How have you never eaten squash? Oh, I wish I come to your house and cook all different kinds with you! :)

ivy-Oh, thank you. I'm comin' over.

joanna-Oh, your way sounds decadent.

abby-It is low in calories, but give it a try. Just not in place of real spaghetti!

darius-Thank you!

lydia-I agree!

lynn-I can't pass up a bargain! ;)

farida-I hope you find some.

kalyn-What time should I come over? ;)

emily-That makes me happy.:)

bee-Wow! Thank you so much!

sdoc-It's really wonderful with pesto, so I hope you try it.

joey-Mine too.

grace-Yay! Another squash lover.

debbie-It's so easy!

deborah-Then get to the market, girl! ;)

rosie-Now you can! ;)

maria-Thank you so much!

susan-It is funky. :)

maris-I just made it with roasted vegetables too. It was delicious.

linda-"sqaush barbarian." I love it.

sylvia-Mine too.

asha-Oh, with dosas? That must be wonderful.

cristie-My mom would make it diff ways for us too. That's sweet of you.

gina-Then you'll love this too!

Jaime said...

i'll eat spaghetti squash but it's not my favorite. i made a pretty good spaghetti squash lasagna last year...

Unknown said...

oh, I finally find the link hehehe...

Anonymous said...

My sister just bought seeds for this vegetable, so it's great to see how it's going to look. We don't get these in shops in Australia. We'll have to try it buttered when it grows :)