Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp


The key to this dish is perfectly cooked spaghetti squash.

Spicy Spaghetti Squash with Shrimp
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
35 mins

You heard it here first, folks: Spaghetti squash is the new spaghetti. Okay, that might not be entirely true. While the squash variety may never truly dethrone tried-and-true pasta, spaghetti squash is a great, low-carb alternative for a healthy dinner.

When cooking spaghetti squash, it's key to pair it with a dynamic sauce that adds big flavor, like this spicy marinara sauce. Red pepper flakes bring a nice kick, while heavy cream cools it down and rounds out all the flavors. Our secret ingredient to adding umami to this sauce? Anchovies. These can be excluded if you're not partial to tinned fish, but trust us when we tell you that they add another level of flavor to the dish. They mirror the brininess of the shrimp to create a dish that all seafood-lovers will enjoy. The shrimp add their own natural sweetness, while the pecorino and cream pull everything together at the end.

No one wants wet noodles. For tender, slightly caramelized squash, roast it in a hot (450 ̊F) oven. Microwaving steams the "spaghetti" strands, making them watery and mushy. Pairing the spaghetti squash with shrimp adds protein and substance to this wholesome meal. Don't forget to top it all off with torn basil and a shower of grated pecorino Romano. Serve it with a glass of white wine and you've got a healthy, yet indulgent Italian meal.


  • 1 large (3 ¼-lb.) spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and cut into half-moons

  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided

  • 1 ½ pounds medium-size peeled, deveined raw shrimp

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (4 tsp.) 

  • 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped 

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper 

  • cup dry white wine

  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes

  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about ½ cup), divided 

  • ¼ cup small fresh basil leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place squash on a large baking sheet, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Bake until squash starts to brown and strands separate from peel when pulled with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash strands from peel, and set aside in a large bowl. Discard peel.

  2. While squash bakes, season shrimp with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high. Add shrimp. Cook, turning once, until opaque and starting to crisp on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate; set aside. Add onion to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, anchovies, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine, stirring and scraping bottom of pan to release browned bits. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wine has almost fully reduced, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cream, shrimp, and ¼ cup of the grated cheese.

  3. Divide spaghetti squash evenly among 4 bowls, and top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 tablespoon each of basil leaves and remaining grated cheese. Serve immediately.

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