Playing Daphne Oz's Lightened-Up Cacio E Pepe with Spaghetti Squash

These recipes from Daphne Oz, author of The Happy Cook and mom of three, make eating healthy feel like a reward—and have helped her deal with her post-baby body struggles.

Daphne says: I made this on a whim one day when I had a spaghetti squash that had been sitting on my counter a little too long. I halved it, scooped out the seeds, drizzled it with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic salt, and roasted it. I probably forgot about it in the oven, because I came back and it was dark, dark brown. But taking off the top layer, I found the inside was perfectly cooked. And the dark bits were actually kind of delicious themselves.

As I peeled and scraped out the fluffy spaghetti strands inside, it dawned on me that it might be just the vehicle for the Parmesan I had sitting in the fridge. A few minutes later, I was feasting on cacio e pepe-style roasted spaghetti squash. And because the flavors of cacio e pepe are so mild, really just cheese and pepper, I actually like it even better on the delicate squash than on traditional pasta, where it’s so easy to lose the seasoning. I’ve dolled it up since that first fateful dish, opting for garlic cloves rather than garlic salt. But it is easy, filling, and deceptively indulgent either way.  

Excerpt from "The Happy Cook" by Daphne Oz. Copyright © 2016 by Daphne Oz. Used with permission by William Morrow. All rights reserved.

Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 2 3/4 lbs)
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano, or pecorino cheese
  • Freshly cracked pepper
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Arrange squash halves cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season each with ½ teaspoon salt. Use a Microplane-style rasp to grate 1 garlic clove over each half, then rub it into the squash.

Roast the squash until a fork easily slips all the way through the flesh and it fluffs into spaghetti-like strands, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then shred the flesh into strands using a fork. Transfer the strands to a large bowl. Add the cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then toss and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.