Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe

Last week, my husband and I had a well overdue date night just the two of us and we indulged. There was no carb left behind. We rolled out of there like two human-sized gnocchi.

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The restaurant we went to is known for their assortment of small plates and entrees and encourages parties to share each dish with one another. We are sharers by nature whenever we go to a restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed sharing each plate that hit the table. We had ricotta toast with honeycomb, gnocchi with lamb ragu, rigatoni with sausage, bacon and calabrian chilies, grilled romaine salad and finished with panna cotta. We ate it all and I’m pretty sure we each left ten pounds heavier.

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I mention our date last night because it was full of good carbs. The best kind – bread and pasta, which are always my go-to. It’s extremely hard for me to deny a pasta dish or have a spaghetti substitute when given the option, but it’s also important for me to eat healthier alternatives every once in a while.

When I’m craving pasta, but want a lighter, healthier version, I turn to spaghetti squash. It’s nutty, has a great texture and imitates pasta very well. Because I can not only tolerate it, but actually really enjoy it, I decided to create a spaghetti squash version of one of my favorite pasta dishes – cacio e pepe.

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While this version isn’t exactly the same (sorry, but nothing compares to pasta), it’s very, very close and I loved not feeling bloated after eating it. The texture is very different from pasta, but I am totally into it. And most importantly, the creaminess from the cheese and spice from the mounds of pepper make this dish so phenomenal!

If you end up making this dish, don’t forget to tag your photos with #marinamakeseats.

Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1 cup of parmigiano reggiano

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stringy inside parts, and place on a baking dish. Drizzle the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow the squash to roast for 50-60 minutes until it’s fork tender.

After the spaghetti squash is done roasting, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a fork scrape the sides and the middle to gather the innards. Set aside.

Next, in a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the squash to the pan and stir to coat. Add the warm water, a little at a time, stirring to coat. This is a very important step, as the water will help the cheese melt properly. Add the parmigiano reggiano, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, stirring until the cheese is melted and the spaghetti squash is creamy.

Plate and top with additional pepper and cheese.

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