There are two basic ways to bake or roast winter squash. You can either pierce the whole squash in several places, put on a baking sheet and roast until tender (a knife will go into the flesh easily)–usually about an hour; or you can cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet, add some water and roast until tender–this second method is usually quicker, about 45 minutes. Roasting time depends, of course, on the size of the squash. In the first method, allow the whole, baked squash to cool some before cutting open and removing the seeds–the interior of the squash can be quite hot. The oven can be set from 350ºF to 400ºF.

This dish can be eaten hot or at room temperature. If you like, you could add some lemon juice or vinegar to the finished dish, allow it to cool, and eat as a salad.

1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra, if needed
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs or toasted wheat germ
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste, optional
1/4 c finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, dill, sage, basil, cilantro…plus extra for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese

1. Once you have baked the squash, as per the headnote, take a fork, scrape out the flesh and put into a bowl. It should come out in strands–if not, separate into strands in the bowl.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and bread crumbs. Stir constantly for about a minute until the garlic is fragrant and the bread crumbs are somewhat crisp.  Stir in the squash, in batches, if necessary, coating the strands with the bread crumb mixture. Add the herb, and season with salt and pepper. Toss together over medium heat until heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with additional herb. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.