Thursday, November 14, 2013

Baked Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

So I struggle with eating veggies.  And the main problem I have with them is that they are not loaded with refined sugar and simple carbs and they don't taste like pie.  That's what kills it for me.  But I have been trying to work vegetables into my diet on a more regular basis, so I've been branching out trying some new things.

Spaghetti squash is a newish favorite, and I love to sauté it in a pan with some onions and butter and olive oil (after I have quick-roasted it in the microwave so I can remove the flesh), but I threw this together the other night and it went over big. The thing that I don't like about spaghetti squash is that in most recipes I have seen, it has to be twice-cooked.  The first time it is roasted in the oven (or microwave as I often do), and that softens it up so the spaghetti-like flesh can easily be removed.  Then it's either baked, fried, etc.  It's not like that is a HUGE big deal, but it is something to consider if you want super fast.

I think this would be a good side dish for Thanksgiving.  And for children because obviously it looks like cheesy pasta.

Read these notes before you make it.

--HEED THIS WARNING:  Spaghetti squash is the devil to cut in half.  And the other day, I literally almost plunged a kitchen knife into my stomach while trying to cut it.  Yes, my knife needed sharpening and that would have made the job easier, but they are very hard to split in half.  So be careful and try not to kill yourself.  No vegetable is worth dying for.

--The squash gives off some water/juice after it has baked in the sauce, but it was still delicious.

--I did not prepare the squash in any special way to be roasted.  So seasonings, no rubbing it with oil, etc.  I just put them in a pan, cut side up and roasted.  But you could rub it with oil.  I just didn't.

-For my 13 x 9 inch pan I used a large spaghetti squash and a medium-large spaghetti squash.  It filled my pan up nicely.

--The seeds can hide so take the time to scoop it out well.

--Sometimes I will microwave them for 15-20 minutes until they are soft instead of roasting in the oven.

--To remove the strands, just take a spoon and start digging into the flesh.  You'll see it separating into strands, just like spaghetti.  It's really quite fascinating.

Baked Parmesan Spaghetti Squash

2 medium to large spaghetti squash
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese plus more for sprinkling on top
Kosher salt and coarse black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and membranes.  Place cut sides up in a large baking or roasting pan and roast for about 50-70 minutes or until squash is tender.  Remove from oven and let cool until you can touch it.
Scoop out the strands with a spoon and place in a large bowl.  Separate with hands until it looks like noodles.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Add the milk and continue cooking until mixture has thickened and is bubbly around edges, about 6-8 minutes, whisking often.  Remove from heat.  Stir in  1 1/4 cup parmesan until melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour sauce over spaghetti squash and stir to coat.  Transfer to a 13 x 9 inch buttered baking dish.  Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes, placing under the broiler if necessary to get top golden brown.   

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