This is a ridiculously quick recipe if you have a microwave. We used to but don’t any longer so it still took over an hour, but it’s an hour that requires only a few minutes of hands-on time. Still, it is my favorite preparation of spaghetti squash, not only because it is delicious but because it approaches winter squash in my favorite way: by waking it up. I’ve never had a taste for squash recipes with cream or sugar or piles of cinnamon; I think the natural sweetness of squash is best contrasted with bolder ingredients, like garlic and tahini, jalapenos, olives and preserved lemons, chile-lime vinagrettes, hearty beans and ham or cayenne-dusted caramelized onions. I think you get the picture.
Recipe by Smitten Kitchen.
1 (3 1/2- 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 or flat-leaf parsley, if you’re cilantro-averse
To cook the squash in a microwave: Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven 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.
To roast the squash, two methods: If you’d like to roast the squash whole, pierce it all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting and bake it in a 375°F oven for one hour. If you are good with a big, sharp kinfe, you can save some time by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is barely golden. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.
If you have microwaved or roasted your squash whole, carefully halve it lengthwise (it will give off a lot of steam) and remove the seeds.
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 the spiced butter and cilantro.