With an abundance of pumpkins and squash piling up at the grocery store, in addition to the arrival of nearly 40 degree weather, hanging on to those last feelings of summer just doesn’t feel like an option anymore. This dish is the perfect meal to make during these summer-to-fall transitioning times, combining fresh tomato sauce with one of fall’s most impressive offerings: the spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is truly one of nature’s wonders — a vegetable that can disguise itself as a plate full of spaghetti. When I first attempted to cook this dish I spent nearly twenty minutes fumbling with a sharp knife and rolling squash to cut it in half — not a good combination. What I learned was that it tastes just as good if you bake it whole and simply finish it off in the oven once the skin is soft enough to pierce. While this dish may not fool the avid pasta fanatic, it is a great way to get the same delicious flavors with a fall twist.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 80 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes
1 spaghetti squash
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Shaved Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese (optional, but encouraged)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Poke spaghetti squash all over with a fork to allow steam to escape. Place whole spaghetti squash onto baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes, or until flesh is easily pierced with a knife.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in sauté pan and add tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium-low heat until tomatoes begin to give off liquid, about 5 minutes.
4. Add chopped garlic, parsley and a quarter cup of water. Cook covered for an additional 5 minutes.
5. When cool enough to handle, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and fibrous strings.
6. Drizzle both halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place both halves flesh side down onto baking sheet and bake for 15 more minutes.
7. Take squash out of oven and, with a fork, scrape the flesh into long “spaghetti” strands.
8. Place “spaghetti” into a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper
9. Place spaghetti squash onto plate and top with tomato sauce and shaved cheese.