THE BLOG
10/09/2014 05:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The 10 Emotional Stages of Cooking Spaghetti Squash

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Stage 1: False confidence. I'm going to make spaghetti squash because it's Fall and I've never done it before. It's all up in my Pinterest boards and I'm ready to find out what the hype is all about.

I've thought about cooking spaghetti squash before. I see them staring me down while grocery shopping, all yellow and oblong-looking, judging my preference for other vegetables.

"Butternut squash again, huh? Pffft. Amateur."

"Sweet potatoes? How original. (Yawn.)"

I will be taunted by this strange seasonal vegetable NO MORE. You asked for it, Mr. Spaghetti Squash. Mama's feeling like pasta and she's on a low-carb kick. It's on. This will be a breeze.

Stage 2: Naive gusto. I'm just going to slice this sucker in half. Yep, just like -- er -- ooomph! -- how the hell do I cut this thing open?! And what the heck do I do with it? Ok let's see...slice off the top, take a little off of the bottom to make it flat, stand it up, and then dowwwwwn the middle. Easy does it.

Ah, okay, NOW we're rolling! I cut it perfectly in half, just like Martha told me to.

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See? Even Steven! (And I only had one glass of wine so far!)

Stage 3: Relief. Now, for the easy part! I'm going to sprinkle some salt and pepper on this bad boy and drizzle some olive oil, and roast the juices right out of it. Set my oven to 375, and my timer for 35 minutes.

Annnnnd, done! Mmm, that smells great! Easy peasy!

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Stage 4: Panic. Wait a minute - where's the spaghetti?

WHERE'S THE FREAKING SPAGHETTI?!?

What kind of sick joke is this?!

See, now THIS is why you can't trust anything that pretends to be a pasta but really isn't!! I'm Italian, I should have known! IT'S AN IMPASTA!! (Did you not see that one coming?!)

Stage 5: Regret and uncertainty. Maybe I bought the wrong vegetable?? I mean, there were so many effed up looking gourds and I don't know what happened. So much pressure!

Stage 6: Hope. Wait, let's be reasonable first and do the only thing we know how to do when facing a culinary crises: search Google.

Yes, Google will know!

Google says I'm supposed to use my fork to scrape the flesh and that it should -- wait -- OHHHHH, there's it is!! I've hit gold!!!!

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Stage 7: Euphoria. IT'S BEAUTIFUL!!!!

(TEARS OF JOY)

So many golden threads! I never want to cook regular spaghetti again!

Stage 8: Panic (again). OMG why won't it stop? Whywon'titstopwhywon'titstopwhywon'titstop....my spaghetti squash is PUKING!

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Stage 9: Relief. Phew, there it goes. Now, to dress it up! I'll toss it right in the pan with some roasted peppers, shallots, and butter.

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Stage 10: Satisfaction. THIS is what I'm talking about! Top it with some fresh herbs, some Pecorino Romano cheese, and serve.

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And now, for my recipe!

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash (that strange, oblong vegetable talking smack in the produce aisle)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, minced
an assortment of fresh peppers (1 1/2 to 2 cups), thinly sliced
1/8 cup sherry wine vinegar
2 tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons of fresh herbs (I used oregano, thyme, and parsley)
1/2 stick butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare squash by slicing in half (see notes above). Gently remove the seeds (being careful not to scrape the flesh because remember, that's where the gold is), sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, flesh side down. Add 1/4 cup water to the baking sheet, cover with foil, and roast for 35 minutes. In the meantime...

Heat butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. (A medium-sized saucepan will work as well.) Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the pepper and sautee until soft, stirring occasionally (12-15 minutes). Add the sherry to the pan, and cook until the sherry burns off (another 5 minutes or so). Reduce the heat to low.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, using a fork, scrape the insides out. You should see the flesh flaking off into golden thread-like pieces. This is your "pasta". Scoop it directly into the pan with your peppers and shallots.

Add the herbs and cheese, gently toss, and serve!

A version of this post originally appeared on Alessandra's blog, www.punkwife.com. And, if you are getting married or know a bride-to-be, check out her book: "The Bitch's Bridal Bible: The Must-Have, Real- Deal Guide for Brides," available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also find Alessandra on Facebook and Twitter.

Alessandra is currently working on a cookbook filled with healthy, fresh and easy recipes for babies that the whole family can enjoy (because really, who wants to cook twice?). If you'd like to get on that mailing list, you can do so here: What a Good Eater.