Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti Squash

Well everyone, I finally jumped on the spaghetti squash bandwagon. After constantly seeing “spaghetti squash this” and “spaghetti squash that” on Pinterest and scoffing at the idea that you could substitute a vegetable for my most beloved carb, I finally tried this magical food.

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This is my new friend and his name is Big Chuy

I could eat pasta every day. This is not an exaggeration. The bigger problem is that I can’t just eat one measly serving of pasta. Case in point: I’ve been known to polish of a box off Annie’s Mac and Cheese in one sitting. Please don’t check the calories on that endeavor, it’s not pretty.DSC02647

But this recipe is so easy and delicious, I’m A-OK  substituting squash for pasta.  More importantly, you would not believe the calories you save by swapping! A cup of whole wheat pasta packs about 175 calories and 37 grams of carbohydrate. That’s not including the cheese, butter, or meatballs you might will add! On the flip side, a cup of spaghetti squash has only 40 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates. This means you can eat almost a whole spaghetti squash and consume as many calories as one serving of pasta. I’m sold.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper (feel free to use as much as you want)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of freshly grated pecorino romano

DSC02637First preheat your oven to 375°. Next, wash and dry your spaghetti squash then cut it in half, using a sharp knife. The skin of the squash is quite thick so it might take a bit of muscle, just don’t hurt yourself!

DSC02625Scoop out the seeds and place on a baking dish. Brush the squash with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and cover with black pepper. DSC02628Place the squash flesh side down and pop these bad boys in the oven for about an hour. DSC02632Your squash will be cooked when a fork can easily puncture the flesh of the squash. Allow the squash to cool for 5 or 10 minutes before handling. Next, use a fork to scoop out the wonderfully stringy noodles. This is honestly nature’s automatic pasta maker.DSC02634Set aside all your “pasta.”

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Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan. When the oil begins to shimmer, add your garlic.

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Allow the garlic to cook for about a minute then pop in all of your spaghetti squash. Use tongs to move it around and distribute the olive oil.DSC02643

Add your cheese and pepper.DSC02638

Toss until all the cheese has melted.DSC02644

Serve piping hot with a light garnish of grated cheese and thyme. This dish goes perfectly with a light arugula salad and roast chicken breast.

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For my next spaghetti squash venture, I’m going to get a bit more creative. Here are some of the recipes I plan to try:

Have you ever cooked spaghetti squash? What do you think about this guilt-free substitute for pasta?

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