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Taste of the season: The mild, versatile spaghetti squash

| Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
TRIBUNE MEDIA
Spaghetti Squash Salad with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

If you've never had spaghetti squash before, you're in for a surprise. It's called that for a reason — the vegetable's flesh, after it has been scraped away from the skin, resembles strands of spaghetti. With a mild, sweet flavor, spaghetti squash pairs well with any dish and can be flavored in any way.

Once you've roasted the squash, the flavor customization is up to you. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. It's great as a base for meatballs. This recipe goes a few steps further and includes some fall favorites, such as dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy it as an appetizer salad served warm or as a cold side.

Now is the season for spaghetti squash. You'll find it sold among the other winter squashes, like butternut and acorn, in the market. Pick one up and make this super-simple recipe. It's easy enough to make even on a busy weeknight.

Joseph Erdos is writer for www.oneforthetable.com.

Spaghetti Squash Salad With Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing squash

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

14 cup dried cranberries

14 cup coarsely chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Brush it with oil. Roast cut-side down until knife-tender, for about 45 minutes.

Let the squash cool slightly. Remove and discard the seeds and stringy pulp. Using a fork, scrape the strands of flesh from the skin into a bowl.

Combine the olive oil, vinegar and parsley in a small bowl or measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the squash. Add the cranberries and hazelnuts. Toss gently to combine.

Makes 4 servings.

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