I’ve had this recipe for cacio e pepe spaghetti squash bookmarked since last fall, when I first found myself flipping through Skinny Taste’s latest cookbook: One and Done.
The only thing keeping me from making it has been the spaghetti squash itself, which is something I would cook more often if I didn’t find it terrifying to open.
But a few weeks ago, when I stumbled upon this America’s Test Kitchen video offering winter squash-opening guidance, I felt inspired to give it a go. Though my attempt at the method — using a rubber mallet to gently tap the knife through the squash — was not as smoothly executed as I had hoped, it got the job done, and before long the squash was roasting away.
This is a very simple preparation, inspired by the classic dish cacio e pepe, which calls for tossing noodles with nothing more than olive oil, pasta cooking liquid, cheese, salt, and pepper. As it turns out, the minimalist seasonings — the saltiness and sharpness of the Pecorino in particular — are a perfect match for the warm, sweet squash.
You can serve this as a side dish, but to make it a meal, you could heap it atop chickpeas cooked with lots of onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. If you’ve cooked your chickpeas ahead of time, they whole dish can be ready to go in about an hour.
Here’s the play by play: Find a way to …
… cut open your spaghetti squash. I recently learned you can put the squash (uncut) in your Instant Pot, which eliminates having to use a knife. Details in recipe.
Season the squash with salt and pepper.
Place cut side down on parchment- or foil-lined sheet pan.
Roast for 55-60 minutes…
or until caramelized at the edges.
Pull the flesh into strands.
Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Pecorino.
Serve the squash as a side dish or …
… sauté an onion with …
… garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.
Add chickpeas and their cooking liquid and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl.
Top with squash.
Grate more cheese over top. Yum.
This spaghetti squash recipe is from Skinny Taste’s One and Done Cookbook. It can be served as a side dish, but to make it a meal, I like to pair it with chickpeas simmered in their cooking liquid with lots of sautéed onions and garlic.
If you like video guidance, I made this on Instagram Stories.
There is no easy way to cut up a spaghetti squash. I found this ATK video helpful. Also, I’ve since cooked the entire thing in my Instant Pot. I didn’t poke any holes in it. I used 1 cup of water, set the squash on the trivet, and cooked it at high pressure for 30 minutes, then did a quick release. It worked beautifully. Cons: you have to get the seeds out of the squash after the fact, which isn’t too much trouble, just a little messy/tricky when the squash is still very hot. Also, you don’t get a roasted flavor with the IP; you get more of a steamed flavor, which you may love.
for the squash:
- 1 medium spaghetti squash, (2 3/4 to 3 pounds)
- kosher salt, for seasoning
- fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
for the chickpeas:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 to 2 onions thinly sliced to yield 1-2 cups
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas in their cooking liquid
- flaky sea salt for finishing
Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy yellow strands, then discard.
Season the flesh with a pinch of salt & pepper then place the squash cut side down on the prepared pan.
Bake until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
Using a fork scrape out the squash flesh into a bowl; it will separate into spaghetti-like strands.
Add olive oil, Pecorino Romano, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss well and serve immediately, or to make the chickpeas, continue on.
To make the chickpeas: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring every so often, till they begin to caramelize, 7 to 1o minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes to taste, and cook for a minute more. Add the chickpeas and 2 cups of cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until chickpeas begin breaking down. Taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add liquid as needed to keep the chickpeas somewhat brothy.
- To serve. Spoon chickpeas into a bowl. Top with a spoonful of spaghetti squash. Use a microplane to shave more Pecorino over top. Serve, passing more salt and pepper on the side.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven/Roast
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: squash, spaghetti squash, pecorino, chickpeas