Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti Squash ~ this comforting stuffed winter squash is a deliciously low carb and gluten free version of one of my favorite classic Italian pasta recipes.
Considering I’m a food blogger I can be painfully slow to adopt certain trends, and spaghetti squash was one of them. I took a wait and see attitude for a very, very long time. The very idea of shredding a perfectly good winter squash to smithereens and then trying to pass it off as pasta seemed a little far fetched to me but, omg, turns out it’s a pretty genius idea!
I only discovered this because I’ve been working my way through all sorts of winter squash, I’ve been cooking with kabocha, pumpkin, butternut, and acorn a lot lately. There came a point where I just couldn’t ignore those oblong yellow spaghetti squash staring at me from the produce section.
But isn’t this how it happens for all us late adapters…we finally see the light after we actually try something new and then we get obsessed. This cheesy spaghetti squash boat was simple to do, and really delicious.
The texture of the squash ‘spaghetti’ is perfectly light and fluffy, and the flavor is so subtle that it really is like eating a light pasta (like angel hair pasta without the stickiness.) And because the squash has no assertive flavor of its own, you can really do anything with it. Cacio e Pepe, or Cheese and Pepper, is a classic rustic Italian pasta sauce that is hardly more than good Parmesan cheese and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.
It’s such fun to pull the squash out of the oven and start shredding it, all it takes is raking a fork along the inside and the flesh magically transforms into silky threads. I make sure to leave a little bit of squash along the edges so it holds together and doesn’t collapse.
Once I’ve scraped my squash I can toss it with some good olive oil, the cheese, and pepper. I like to top it with a little more cheese and run it back into the oven (or under the broiler) to brown it. It’s absolutely heavenly.
Even if you don’t need to avoid regular pasta for dietary reasons, this gluten free ‘spaghetti’ is absolutely wonderful, and well worth trying.
Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti Squash
- 2 spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper plus more to taste
- 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese or an Italian blend
- Preheat oven to 350F Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice the stem ends off the squash. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (Keep the seeds for roasting!)
- Brush each half with olive oil and season with salt. Place cut side down on the baking sheet and bake the squash for about 45 minutes, or until tender. A paring knife should glide in without resistance.
- Flip the squash over, and let cool for a few minutes. Then shred the squash with a fork to create the spaghetti-like strands. Shred most of the squash, but leave enough along the edges to maintain its shape.
- Put the shredded squash in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt to taste, and add the pepper. Toss with one cup of the cheese, and then mound the squash halves with the 'spaghetti'.
- Top with remaining cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.