This Weird Tip from Ina Garten Made Me Love Spaghetti Squash

(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

I am pretty late to discover the glory that is spaghetti squash. I watched years ago as my friends and family used it as an alternative to pasta and turned it into a side dish for whatever protein they were serving. To be honest, it looked like a lot of extra work, and when I did finally try it the added labor just didn’t seem worth the effort. I’ll stick to real spaghetti, I thought naively.

And then Ina Garten came into my life, like Ina tends to do. I was flipping through her most recent cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey, looking for a vegetable-heavy side dish, when I discovered her dead-simple recipe for spaghetti squash. It completely changed my mind about the trendy gourd.

In the recipe notes for Ina’s spaghetti squash with garlic and Parmesan, the Food Network stars says that one of her friends admitted that she found spaghetti squash boring. “Try this recipe and see if I can change your mind,” Ina told her friend. She says this recipe — with a heavy helping of butter and Parmesan – is “not even close to boring.”

Get the recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan on The Star Tribune

Ina’s Tip: Add Apple Cider!

Like other recipes, Ina’s spaghetti squash recipe has you cut the gourd in half and coat the inside with salt and pepper and oil (you can see Kitchn’s recipe here). This is a pretty standard method. But then – then! — Ina says you should add 1/4 cup of apple cider or juice into the cavities of the spaghetti squash before putting it in the oven.

This is where the magic happens. The addition of the apple cider makes the squash a little bit sweeter and more tangy. The first time I made this recipe, I messed up and added apple cider vinegar into the cavity instead and it was almost even more delicious.

You finish the recipe with lots of fresh parsley, butter, and Parmesan, but honestly it doesn’t always need these additions. The spaghetti squash is great by itself with the secret addition of apple cider (or vinegar, if you’re a monster like me).

Have you tried this trick?