The Best Way to Cook a Spaghetti Squash

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Admired as a high-fiber, low-carbohydrate alternative to traditional pasta, spaghetti squash separates into noodle-like strands when cooked and scooped from its shell. For people avoiding gluten or high-carb foods, this unusual winter squash may prove a satisfying alternative to wheat-based spaghetti. Methods such as baking and stuffing the spaghetti squash also exist, but the classic preparation involves separating the cooked thread-like flesh from the shell and topping it as you would your favorite pasta dish. One average size squash provides four servings.

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Wash and dry the exterior of the squash.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Prick the shell of the squash in several places with a fork.

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Place squash on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the oven.

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Bake for at least one hour. Remove the squash from the oven when the shell pierces easily with a knife or fork. Do not turn off the oven after removing the squash.

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Leave the squash to cool at least 15 minutes.

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Slice the squash lengthwise into two halves.

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Remove the seeds from the interior of the spaghetti squash.

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Run a fork over the inner flesh of squash in order to loosen the thread-like pieces. While spaghetti squash doesn't appear to contain much flesh when first opened, separating it from its shell releases enough "spaghetti" to fill a pasta serving platter.

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Scoop the loose flesh into a casserole dish and continue to scrape the inner shell until all of the flesh has been loosened and removed to the casserole dish.

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Pour your pasta sauce over the squash flesh and toss to coat the "noodles." Reserve some of the sauce.

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Cover the sauce-topped squash with a casserole lid or aluminum foil and place in oven for at least 20 minutes.

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Cook any planned additions to the spaghetti squash, such as cubed chicken, meatballs, mushrooms or peppers.

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Remove the squash from the oven and pour into a serving platter. Toss it with any additions, if you are using them.

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Add additional sauce, if desired, as well as cheese, herbs and other toppings.