Spicy Baked Spaghetti Squash

Despite first impressions, Sunset magazine is not a periodical for the AARP set. It portrays Life In The West in laid-back, DIY, horticultural light, which is most often filtered through a hazy, dreamy lens. Our good friends (and current SF denizens) Christmas-gifted us with The Sunset Cookbook, a collection of their best recipes. And while Malcolm dropped in head first I was a bit more circumspect. I am no Horace Greeley follower, I am firmly rooted in the Northeast. After a few grudging weeks I always come around, and when I started flipping through the pacific pages I did find a few things that were appealing. I’ve never before had my hands inside the wormy wonder of spaghetti squash, but I must say, it was super satisfying to scoop out ribbons of gourd flesh with a spoon. Here’s what happened:

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeno Cream
adapted from Sunset magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 jalapenos, seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup jack cheese

Method

Step 1: Cracking the squash. I don’t know if I am inept or if this was a particularly chaste specimen, but it refused to open; I felt like King Arthur when I finally extracted my knife from the gourd. Bake face down on a buttered baking sheet at 375 for thirty-five minutes. Meanwhile, on the stove, add the jalapeno pieces into milk, heating until tiny bubble form around the perimeter of the pot. Remove from heat and let steep for fifteen minutes once this bubbling has occured, then strain and discard peppers, set milk aside. In the same pot over medium heat, melt butter, whisking in salt and flour, then the milk, for at least five minutes, until it is smooth and slick. When the squash is cool enough to handle (but not too cold to hold) strip it of its flesh, scraping with a large spoon, and desposit the spaghetti-textured stuff into a large bowl. Stir in the liquid and add a dash of nutmeg and black pepper. Transfer to a buttered baking dish, top with grated cheese and bake for thirty minutes.

Projected Results: totally rad and yummy to the the max. Do try this at home, even if your home is somewhere East of Eden.

Actual Results: nice, but left me longing for a really good baked macaroni and cheese. Reheats beautifully.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

7 Comments

  1. Spaghetti squashes are notorious in being hard to slice through, but they are our “virtuous” alternative to pasta during the week–complete with a few turkey meatballs and some tomato sauce and it’s not a bad way to get one’s vegetables. I am going to suggest having this next week as something indulgent-yet-healthy; after all it only calls for one cup of cheese…

    By the way, I’ve found that scraping the strands with a fork rather than a spoon helps give it more spaghetti-like texture.

  2. Love, love, love me some spaghetti squash. It was the only enduring takeaway of my experiment with the South Beach diet (all the weight loss results dematerialized eventually, but the spaghetti squash persevered). I was excited to cook some when we were back in NYC for a month. Wish we could find it down here. Le sigh.

  3. Just made this last week, but with spaghetti sauce, delicious! Just bake the darn thing whole, then slice it when it’s done, WAY easier, and then scrape it out with a fork. SO GOOD, and you feel so virtuous!

  4. I love spaghetti squash, too, and they are a PAIN to cut open. My mom almost gave up. I bake mine first, THEN chop it open. Do it for about 30-45 minutes and you should be able to cut right through it. Plop it back on the pan and then continue baking until it’s as soft as you like it. So much easier =)

  5. Rather than wasting half an hour baking a spaghetti squash, just cut in half and put it in the microwave for 8-10 minutes. Also, a battery powered pumpkin carving knife works wonderfully for cutting in half!

  6. I’ve been growing and cooking spaghetti squash this way for years. Half and bake face down till you can string it but it’s still crisp (1/2 hr). Saute onion, 1# ground, meat, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, mushrooms and stewed tomatoes with the juice drained. Mix with squash. Pile back into squash halves and bake 1/2 hour. Add cheddar to top last for 10 more minutes. Serve with smashed potatoes. Real comfort food and kids love it. You can use Rotel tomatoes or add jalapenos if you like.

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