UPDATE: I finally had the time to experiment with Spaghetti Squash Carbonara. Oh my. It is so good; I just finished the leftovers. I followed a recipe from Pasta Classics, a book I wrote in 1999 or thereabouts. I’m surprised that it worked so well on my first try. At some point, I may tweak it a bit to lighten it up–it is very rich–but this first attempt turned out pretty much perfectly. The leftovers were even more delicious, mostly likely because the squash soaked up some of the flavors.

If you’d like to try this but are intimidated by an entire spaghetti squash, you are in luck. Hector Alvarez of Hector’s Honey sells halves, which are just perfect for 4 to 6 people.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara, made exactly as you made Spaghetti Carbonara, with roasted asparagus alongside.

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara, made exactly as you made Spaghetti Carbonara, with roasted asparagus alongside.

Here’s the recipe I used:

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 to 14 ounces cooked spaghetti squash, strands separated with a fork
  • 3 ounces pancetta, minced and fried until just crisp
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 large backyard eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, from a backyard egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 ounces grated aged Asiago, Pecorino or dry Jack
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the spaghetti squash on a sheet pan or some other ovenproof container and set it in the oven to heat; it needs to be very hot.
  2. With the pancetta over medium low heat, add the garlic and saute 90 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Put the eggs and yolk yolk into a large metal mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until slightly thickened.
  4. Add the parsley, cheeses and pancetta mixture to the eggs and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the hot spaghetti squash and lift and toss, preferably with a pasta fork, for a couple of minutes, so that the hot squash will begin to cook the eggs and melt the cheese.
  6. Divide among individual soup plates, bowls or dinner plates and serve immediately, with a green vegetable such as roasted asparagus or wilted spinach alongside.

It's helpful to know what to look for, especially if you've never purchased spaghetti squash before.

Today’s Seasonal Pantry features spaghetti squash, a pretty yellow medium-sized winter squash whose external appearance gives little clue to what’s inside.

When I went to the farmers market this morning, I saw that Hector Alvarez of Hector’s Honey has plenty of spaghetti squash right now, which provides a second source. I developed these new recipes using Redwood Empire Farm’s squash; they attend only on Saturday.

From today’s Seasonal Pantry:

No special effort is needed to form the meat of the squash into spaghetti-like ribbons; it does it itself.

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms & Sausage

Thai Salad with Spaghetti Squash

In today’s column, I also promised to talk about my experiment making Spaghetti Squash Carbonara. Alas, you’ll have to wait a few more days, as I haven’t had time to do it yet.

This recipe is from a pairing column I wrote in 2009:

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato-Porcini Sauce, paired with Buehler Vineyards 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Seasonal Pantry’s November 18, 2009 column about spaghetti squash includes these recipes.

Cooking Spaghetti Squash–Basics you’ll need to know for using this squash in any recipe

Spaghetti Squash Fritters–Inspired by my carrot fritters, an all-time favorite

Spaghetti Squash Souffle–Inspired by my Spaghetti Carbonara Souffle

In a pinch, you can use spaghetti squash instead of green papaya to make an almost-traditional Green Papaya Salad

Spicy Spaghetti Squash Souffle–When you like a jolt of heat

 

It is possible to use spaghetti squash in place of green papaya in the traditional green papaya salads of Southeast Asia. The results will not be identical, of course, but you’ll have a delicious salad with a compelling texture that may satisfy your craving when you can’t find green papayas.

Here are two recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives:

Thai Green Papaya Salad

Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad