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How to Cook Spaghetti Squash the Easy Way -- An Easier, Safer Method

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Spaghetti squash with parmesan toasts
Brian Hagiwara/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Spaghetti squash is such a fun vegetable! Its lemon-yellow flesh pulls into long, spaghetti-like strands when cooked (how cool is that?) and it takes to sauce like a duck to . . . well, like a duck to duck sauce!

It can be cooked in the oven, but that method is time-consuming. Spaghetti squash done in the microwave is ready in no time flat. The only problem is that it requires a lot of space. The traditional method involves placing the halves face down in a large microwave dish, and if you have a smallish microwave oven, you're forced to cook only one half at a time if you want the dish to turn freely.

Even if you do have a big microwave oven, you may find that the traditional method of adding water to the dish and covering with plastic wrap presents a different problem: the super-hot steam can cause the plastic wrap to melt.

But even if the wrap doesn't melt, the escaping steam can be hazardous. (And let's not even talk about the possible chemical release issue.)

This method solves both problems. It lets you cook any size spaghetti squash in half the usual space and doesn't require plastic wrap at all. Here's what you do:

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Variable

Here's How:

  1. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise (you can remove the stem first, but don't cut through the ends.)
  2. Scrape out the seeds and fibers using a large spoon. Again, be careful not to break through the ends.
  3. Take one of the halves and put it cut-side-up in a close-fitting microwave dish (such as an oval casserole.) You want it to be as stable and as level as possible. If it isn't, cut a very thin strip of skin from the bottom.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup water into the hollow of the squash itself (not into the dish), then place the other half on top cut-side-down.
  5. Carefully place it in the microwave and cook on full power. A small squash (under 1 1/2 lbs) will take about 10 minutes to cook.
  6. To test for doneness, just squeeze the top half gently (wear an oven mitt for this!) If it's flexible, it's likely to be done. Carefully remove the top half to see if the flesh has turned a rich, semi-translucent yellow (as opposed to opaque yellow-white)
  7. Drain any remaining water (there may not be any) and pull out the strands with a fork. Toss with butter (and Parmesan!) or your favorite sauce. For a fun and healthy change of pace, add it to an Asian soup in place of noodles.

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