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Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

September 16, 2012

Growing up, I never cared much for spaghetti squash. I thought the texture was weird – kind of stringy and slightly crunchy – and the flavor seemed fairly bland. So when I got spaghetti squash towards the end of summer in our CSA bag last year, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. My cookbooks didn’t have a large variety of recipes since it’s not as commonly used as other types of squash, but this one in my Gourmet cookbook that had Moroccan spices in it looked interesting (and fast and easy). Rather than taking over an hour to oven-roast the squash, this recipe calls for piercing it all over and then microwaving it for about 15 minutes: one of the few legitimate microwave recipes I’ve come across! (Best to forget about all those cookbooks that came out in the late 1970s when the microwave was the new big thing – Roast some beef! Bake a cake! All in the microwave! Bleh.)

Well, this recipe turned out SO AWESOME that I’ve made it several times since, and I just made a double batch tonight as we got two whole spaghetti squash in our bag on Saturday! The butter, garlic, spices, and cilantro all combine to make this squash super-flavorful and a little bit spicy. No blandness here at all! It may not be the most beautiful dish out there, but it is one of the most delicious vegetables I’ve ever made. It only takes about 25 minutes from start to finish since the squash cooks fast in the microwave, so it’s perfect for an easy side dish to a weeknight supper or dinner party. Even if you’re not usually a fan of squash, try this recipe anyway… I guarantee you and your family/guests will be surprised and pleased with the results.

Spaghetti squash with Moroccan spices

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1  (3½ to 4 pound) spaghetti squash
  • 1/2  stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8  teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4  teaspoon salt
  • 2  tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Pierce squash all over with a small sharp knife. Cook in an 800-watt microwave on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderately high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.
  3. Carefully halve squash lengthwise (it will give off steam) and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with spiced butter and cilantro and serve.

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