The main ingredient in this dish may be a vegetable, but it's the best substitute for pasta, hands down. Spaghetti squash is unlike any other squash: As it roasts, the flesh becomes tender and takes on a strand-like quality that mimics pasta. For maximum texture when cooking spaghetti squash, scrape the meat of the squash with a fork to avoid unpleasant and clumpy bunches.
With sweet, slow-roasted squash; bits of toasted walnuts; and fried sage all tossed in nutty brown butter, this makes for a very rich dish. Don't be afraid to squeeze a couple of lemon cheeks on top to add a hit of acid. When planning a menu, we suggest pairing more indulgent dishes like this with something refreshing and crisp, like a salad or tangy, charred vegetables.
To learn more, read "Side Effects."
Spaghetti Squash with Sage and Walnuts
Recipe adapted from Andrew Carmellini, Leuca, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes, plus cooling time
1 medium (2½-to-3-pound) spaghetti squash
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
15 sage leaves, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Transfer the squash to a rack-lined baking sheet, cut-sides up. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 sage leaves in the hollowed-out core of each half and season with salt and pepper.
2. Bake the squash until the flesh is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the squash cool to room temperature. Using a fork, scoop out the meat of the squash from the skins into a small bowl. Reserve the skins for plating.
3. In a large sauté pan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook until they are toasted and the butter has started to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 11 sage leaves and toast until they become fragrant but not burnt, 1 minute. Mix in the roast squash and cook until fully warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to the reserved squash skins. Garnish with the Parmesan and serve.