Not What You Think

November 6, 2008


I’ve been feeling under the weather all week, with a cold or flu or something that I just can’t seem to shake. And it’s had me craving comfort foods: brothy soups, bowls of oatmeal, pretty much anything that can be eaten while huddled under a blanket, curled up in the corner of the couch.

Do you see those strands up there? The ones twirled around the tines of the fork? Well, they’re cloaked in a simple olive oil sauce, spiked with a heavy dose of both garlic and crushed red chiles. And they satisfied my comfort food criteria beautifully. But, they’re not what you think they are …

(Click “more” to find out what it is, see the photos & read the recipe.)


At first glance, you might assume that today’s recipe involves angel hair or linguine or vermicelli or spaghettini. But, no! It’s squash! Spaghetti squash, to be exact and it’s one of the coolest things I’ve made in a while. Seriously, I challenge you to roast a spaghetti squash, scrape a fork across its flesh, watch the tendrils that look just like spaghetti emerge and not utter an awestruck “coooooool.” In light of my cold, it’s all photos from here on out today. Enjoy:












Spicy, Garlicky Spaghetti Squash

Serves 2 (as a main dish) or 4 (as a side dish)

1 medium sized spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeds discarded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
3 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Brush the cut sides of of the squash with one tablespoon of the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the prepared baking sheet, cut sides up. Roast for 50 minutes, or until the flesh has begun to brown and has softened. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until the shallots have softened, several minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash and transfer the strands to the skillet. Toss the spaghetti squash to coat it with the garlicky sauce. Top with grated cheese and parsley.


33 Responses to “Not What You Think”

  1. Robin Says:

    I’ve always wanted to try spaghetti squash. It looks so fun! Now it’s just a matter of finding one in Barcelona…I don’t think I’ve seen very many varieties of squash in the markets here.

  2. Emily Says:

    Sooooo fun. This is definitely in my future. I hope you’re feeling better!

  3. Jessica Says:

    I am a squash lover, but believe it or not, I have never had spaghetti squash. This looks very good. I will make this soon!

    Unfortunately I am feeling more like popsicles than squash… it is 72 in DC today! What happened to autumn?

  4. Kylee Says:

    What a great post, I love this idea!

    Love the photos. Awesome all round.


  5. GS Says:

    Sorry to hear that you’re not feeling 100%. I once microwaved spaghetti squash and it turned out fine (just in case you REALLY don’t feel like cooking). I hope you feel better very soon!

  6. Robin Says:

    Spaghetti squash is just the most awesome vegetable out there! I’m thinking about doing a spaghetti squash carbonara soon. πŸ™‚

    Hope you feel better soon!

  7. pricklypearbloom Says:

    I hope you feel better soon!

  8. Lisa Says:

    WOW! looks delicious. Can’t wait to try spaghetti squash!

  9. Kari Says:

    I make spaghetti squash all the time! It is such a delicious alternative to pasta when you feel like something light and healthy.

  10. dakota Says:

    I love spaghetti squash. YUM.

  11. Emily Says:

    Mmm, I love squash. Thanks for sharing your recipe! Hope all that garlic cured you. We’re having a Comfort Food Recipe Contest at and would love to have you enter one of your favorite recipes.

  12. tobin Says:

    this looks incredible! where can you buy this squash in CA?

  13. Dawn in CA Says:

    Spaghetti squash is so fun and SO yummy. I like the simplicity of your sauce. Feel better soon!

    @tobin – Depending on where you live, most large grocery stores will carry this type of squash. We live in No. Cal., and I buy it at Raley’s or Safeway. πŸ™‚

  14. Rachel Says:

    It was exactly what I thought it was! Spaghetti squash is really tasty and superbly versatile. I have two of them sitting on my plate of squash from the farmers market along with 2 mini butternut, a delicata and a buttercup…I’ll have to resist buying any more tomorrow at the last outdoor market of the season.

  15. andie Says:

    yep. love spaghetti squash. I haven’t made it in a while though. maybe I’ll do that this weekend!

  16. Polly Says:

    As soon as I saw the header coupled with the photo, I knew it was spaghetti squash! I grew up with a mother addicted to it, but she rarely used garlic or red chili flakes in her recipes (two of my fave ingredients) so I am all over this. Feel better!

  17. Meg Says:

    I love spaghetti squash; it’s seriously one of my favourite comfort foods. Yours looks fantastic!

  18. I love roasted spaghetti squash, I want to try your version, love idea of adding Parmesan…. must try it.


  19. grace Says:

    i greatly prefer spaghetti squash to spaghetti, and what you’ve done with it is masterful! πŸ™‚

  20. I have never heard of Spaghetti squash. I will have to track this down, looks amazing!

    I hope you are feeling better by now. I think this warm one day, flurries the next is messing with everyone. I will probably regret saying this, but I am almost ready for full on winter just so that there isn’t anything but cold in the air!

  21. Helen Says:

    That is unbelievably cool! I must try this. I have done it with courgettes before, using a special peeler gadget and that was good but not as good as this. I really like the garlic and chilli treatment afterwards and so much healthier than eating a big old bowl of carbs!

  22. I made it! Delicious, skipped chilli flakes (children) and replaced shallots with spring onions.
    Came out delicious, I will be making spaghetti squashes more often now πŸ™‚ I made it before with sage and garlic but this version with parsley and Parmesan is much better.

  23. holler Says:

    sounds delicious and I really enjoyed the photos πŸ™‚

  24. Jonathan Says:

    i can’t believe i still haven’t made spaghetti squash. i feel like in my head i would want to believe i was about to crunch down on some pasta only to find out it really was squash! i bet you it tastes delicious though. i’ve really got to try it sometime soon. your version would be on the top my list.

  25. Robin: I bet you have so many other gorgeous things, though, in those Barcelona markets.

    Emily: As you know, I am on the mend! Great to see you Saturday.

    Jessica: 72?!? Live it up!

    Kylie: Thanks!

    gs: Interesting! My grandma always does her squash in the microwave and it’s a family favorite.

    Robin: Agreed. That carbonara sounds amazing.

    pricklypearbloom: I’m almost 100%! Thanks.

    Lisa: Thank you! I hope you try it!

    Kari: So good.

    dakota: Agree.

    Emily: Thanks for letting me know — I’ll take a look.

    tobin: Thank you! You should be able to find it at any farmers’ market or grocery store. It’ll be by the other squashes. And see Dawn’s ideas above.

    Dawn in CA: Thank you! And thanks for the tips for tobin.

    andie: I hope you do!

    Polly: Thank you!

    Meg: Thanks!

    Margot: I’m so glad you tried it! Looks beautiful.

    grace: Thanks!

    Whitney: Well, I think your full-on winter wish has been granted. Soooo cold.

    Helen: Thanks!

    holler: Thank you!

    Jonathan: I hope you try it!

  26. Michelle Says:

    I’ve also microwaved spaghetti squash and loved the results. This recipe sounds fantastic!

    If you’re looking for some more spaghetti squash ideas, try this one:

  27. pixen Says:

    i love this melon/squash too. Instead of the color as pictured, the type i have in my country is green with light green vertical stripes… kinda like watermelon. I used it to cook Vegetarian Shark’s Fin Soup because of it’s texture resembles Shark’s Fin and sometimes stir-fried with seafood or meat.

  28. Mari Says:

    Thank the goddess for squashes and pumpkins! This looks so yummy, I’m tempted to run out and go in search of a spaghetti squash right now!

  29. Shana Says:

    What grocery store carries spaghetti squash?

  30. Shana Says:

    Mmmm, it looks so delicious.

  31. I am currently enjoying a bowl. This stuff is awesome. I love the texture. Thanks for introducing me to a new treat!

  32. ‘COOOOOLLL!!!!’ And that’s just from looking at the pictures! I can’t even begin to imagine how exciting it would be to turn a squash into vermicelli. Something a bit Harry Potter-ish about that. I wonder if there are any to be found this side of the Atlantic….I shall have to have a potter round the farmer’s market.

    And if I do find one, you can bet your bottom dollar (/or Β£) that I will be trying that recipe. Comfort food is definitely required in these darkened days! xxxx

  33. rebecca Says:

    I’ve made spaghetti squash a few times but never thought to flavor it prior to cooking it. Thanks for the idea!

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