Barbecue expert Elizabeth Karmel knows her way around whole hog cooking. But recently she was inspired to try her hand at whole squash.

Karmel had seen too many people cut themselves too many times when struggling to peel, cut and seed hard winter squash. Looking for an easier way, she wondered whether she could do away with those steps.

To find out, she washed a spaghetti squash, then set it—whole and uncut—directly on the oven rack and roasted it at 350°F.

“I didn’t prick the squash or score it or do anything to it but rinse it and toss it on the shelf,” she said. “After an hour, I turned off the heat and let the squash continue baking in the residual heat for 30 minutes.”

The squash was silky and butter soft; she was able to cut it in half with ease. The seeds scooped out effortlessly and the flesh practically fell away from the skin.

We tried this technique with butternut and spaghetti squashes and found that though slower than roasting cut squash, it certainly was easier. A 2¼-pound squash roasted perfectly at 425°F in 90 minutes, turning occasionally.

To test for doneness, insert a paring knife into the squash; it should pass through to the center without resistance.