A long winter squash with a yellow or ivory color, spaghetti squash gets it name from the stringy, strand-like texture of the squash's meat which tends to resemble spaghetti when cooked. Characterized by a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, spaghetti squash may be prepared in the same way as other squash varieties including pumpkin, butternut and acorn and, due to its texture, can even be used as a substitute for pasta.
In the Oven
Like other varieties of squash, spaghetti squash must be halved, seeded and peeled before it can be eaten. Depending on the size of the pan being used, the halves can be placed whole in a baking pan or sectioned to accommodate a smaller pan and baked in the oven. An inch of the pan should be filled with water and then covered with aluminum foil so that the squash does not dry out while it bakes. While times vary depending on the oven used, the temperature should be set to 350 degrees. This is one of the most time consuming methods, as the squash must bake for 45 minutes to an hour until tender.
In a Crock Pot
Spaghetti squash lends a savory flavor to soups and may be pureed into its own soup, or blended with other varieties of squash like acorn and butternut. One of the best ways to prepare a soup is in a crock pot. The physics behind the crock pot ensures that the water inside never rises beyond its boiling point. This allows the ingredients to slowly soak in flavor when combined with herbs and spices and slow cooked in vegetable or chicken broth for about a day. After it has cooked, the squash is placed in a blender, pureed and then returned to the crock pot. Blending the puree with a little cream or milk and a few extra spices produces a nutty, savory soup ideal for any season.
On the Stove
Stove top cooking provides a quick and easy method of preparing squash. After halving, peeling and seeding the squash, the meat must be chopped into smaller pieces to facilitate faster cooking. This method requires the squash to be placed in a pot of boiling water and allowed to simmer until tender. Another stove top method requires the use of a steamer. When covered, the water boiling in the bottom section of a steamer creates steam which moves into the second section to cook the squash. In this method, the squash may be left with its skin intact. After the water boils, simply place the squash into the second pot and cover. This method typically takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
In the Microwave
This method provides a quick means of cooking squash, taking about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the wattage of the microwave. Place the squash in a covered, microwave-safe dish with a few inches of water to keep the squash from drying out. This method can be used with the skin intact. The squash may have to be turned over to facilitate proper cooking. Once cooked, the squash may be used in any favorite recipe or simply eaten alone as a quick summer side dish with butter and herbs.