Monday, September 13, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

I am in the midst of a squash resurgence. Well… I guess a squash “surgence” would be more accurate (though less grammatically correct) since I never really ate squash growing up. But I have recently discovered the joys of butternut squash, and this weekend, I experienced my first spaghetti squash.

If you have never had spaghetti squash, I highly recommend dropping everything (or if you’re holding something fragile, like an antique plate or a baby, just set it down gently) and getting one. They are one of the most interesting vegetables I’ve ever eaten. The texture actually seems a lot more crisp and crunchy than spaghetti, in a good way. It really doesn’t have a strong taste. I’d say it’s more like a vehicle for salt and pepper and butter, or whatever you put on it. And what did I put on it? Well, there’s nothing I like more than taking a healthy vegetable, dousing it in cream and topping it with cheese. So I made a gratin. A tasty, bubbly, parmgiano reggiano-y gratin.

1 spaghetti squash, baked until tender
1 large (or two small) shallot(s), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 t. dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, divided in half
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

I found this recipe on Pinch My Salt via my new favorite food site, Tastespotting.

So, first you’ve got to prepare the spaghetti squash, which takes a little time, so make sure to plan ahead. Pick a nice yellow squash with no bruises. I knocked on it to see if it was hollow, but that was really just for show. At home, stab the squash in a few places on all sides. Really let out your inner “Dexter.” I used a big barbeque fork. This is an important step so your squash doesn’t explode. Don’t skip it. Then put it in a roasting pan and cook at 350 degrees for one hour. When it’s cool enough to handle, cut it open lengthwise (or if you’re weak like me, get a manly man to cut it open) and scoop out the seeds. Then use a fork to gently scrape the meat of the squash, pulling the strands like spaghetti. This sounds strange, but it’s really easy. When you are finished, put the squash in a big bowl.

From then on, this gets even easier. Saute the shallot in butter until soft, then add the garlic and cook about a minute more. Add that mixture to the spaghetti squash, along with the thyme, heavy cream, sour cream, half the cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix it well and pour it into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Let it rest for 5-7 minutes (and avoid burning your mouth). Then serve! It’s probably not too healthy because of the cream and cheese, but hey—it’s not as bad for you as a pasta side, or mashed potatoes. I hope you enjoy and begin your own squash surgence!

(Click here for printable recipe)


  1. That looks and sounds delicious. You can tell you work in advertising!

    I'm definitely trying this soon.

  2. I wonder if you can omit the sour cream?

  3. probably the sour cream, but definitely not the cream.