Spaghetti squash does best in a steamy environment. A microwave oven proves perfect. I cook one half at a time, cut side down in water. Then, after a cooling-off period, I use a large fork to pull it into long strands—hence its name. A container of cooked spaghetti squash strands keeps days in the refrigerator and reheats beautifully in the microwave. Season the strands as you would pasta—simply with oil and pepper—or lavishly with a walnut picada and cheese.
- 1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 3/4 Cups walnut pieces
- 3 Tablespoons walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- 3 Tablespoons chopped chives (or green onion tops)
- 1/2 Teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
- Coarse (kosher salt), freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly shredded parmesan or asiago cheese
Step 1: Put one spaghetti squash half, cut side down in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Add 1 inch of water to the dish. Cover with lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap vented at one corner. Microwave on high (100% power) until squash pierces easily with the tip of a knife, about 10 minutes. Cool. Repeat to cook the other squash half.
Step 2: Meanwhile, for walnut picada, toast ¾ cup walnut pieces in a small nonstick skillet just until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Do not walk away or nuts might burn. Cool on a cutting board, then chop finely.
Step 3: Mix chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons walnut oil, 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, 3 tablespoons chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary, ½ teaspoon pepper flakes and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Step 4: Use the tines of a large fork to pull the cooked squash from the skin in long shreds. Place shreds in a serving bowl. Toss with 1 clove crushed garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm sprinkled with the walnut picada. Offer the shredded cheese at the table.