Make tomato sauce and cook spaghetti squash in one pot

Joe Keller/America's Test Kitchen via AP Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce

By AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN

Delicately flavored spaghetti squash makes for a fun and interesting vegetarian main, but often the squash must be roasted in the oven while a separate sauce is made on the stove. In the multicooker, however, we could make a simple fresh tomato sauce and cook a large 4-pound spaghetti squash together in one pot.

First, we bloomed aromatic garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes with tomato paste to provide our sauce with a deeply flavored base. We opted for plum tomatoes for our sauce; because they contain less juice compared with larger tomatoes and less skin compared with an equal amount of small cherry tomatoes, we didn’t need to worry about seeding or peeling, saving time.

Finally, we added the squash, halved and seeded, to the pot, and cooked it until it was tender. We found that the liquid from the tomatoes was enough to steam our squash to perfection, but to rid the final dish of excess moisture, we drained the shredded squash in a strainer and further reduced and concentrated the sauce using the saute function. A sprinkling of fresh basil and shaved Parmesan cheese completed the plate.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH TOMATO SAUCE

Servings: 4

Pressure Cooker: 50 minutes

Slow Cooker: 5 hours, 30 minutes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Pinch red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Shaved Parmesan

Using highest saute or browning function, heat oil in multicooker until shimmering. Add garlic, tomato paste, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes. Season squash halves with salt and pepper and nestle cut side down into multicooker.

— To pressure cook: Lock lid in place and close pressure release valve. Select high pressure cook function and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off multicooker and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

— To slow cook: Lock lid in place and open pressure release valve. Select low slow cook function and cook until squash is tender, 4 to 5 hours. (If using Instant Pot, select high slow cook function and increase cooking range to 5 to 6 hours.) Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.

Transfer squash to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred flesh into strands using two forks; discard skins. Transfer squash to fine-mesh strainer and let drain while finishing sauce.

Cook sauce using highest saute or browning function until tomatoes are completely broken down and sauce is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer squash to serving dish, spoon sauce over top, and sprinkle with basil and Parmesan. Serve.

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Nutrition information per serving: 289 calories; 125 calories from fat; 14 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 1 mg cholesterol; 125 mg sodium; 42 g carbohydrate; 10 g fiber; 19 g sugar; 6 g protein.