I used to say I didn’t like spaghetti squash. My friends on Facebook have seen me kvetch about having made someone’s recipe for spag squash back in the 80’s, topping it with marinara sauce like Italian pasta.
It was vile.
So vile in fact, that I never returned to the vegetable, despite being adventurous with foods, well able to develop my own recipes and having a genuine love for all things squash- except spaghetti squash, that is.
Well recently in an online group which I participate, a discussion about cooking it came up and you gotta know where cooking chat is involved, I am all over it. I mentioned that I thought it might be good seasoned with nutmeg after someone else mentioned making an alfredo with it.
I am not one to not put my money where my mouth is, so I vowed to test this pet theory of mine out. And I have and am pleased to announce that I now love spaghetti squash. This is nothing like that bad 80’s recipe which has gone the way of the Exxon Valdez. Never to be seen again.
The flavor of this is a bit like a gratin. It can easily serve as a main dish or as a rich side dish casserole for special occasions like Thanksgiving. Your call.
If you approach spaghetti squash with any amount of trepidtion, I do hope you give this a try. It will make a believer of you.
Spaghetti Squash Tetrazzini
- 2-2 1/4 pound spaghetti squash
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 8 ounces chopped ham, or cooked turkey or cooked chicken
- 2 tbsp. dry white wine or sherry
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. melted butter butter
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup soft bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place flesh side down in a glass casserole and pour water over it. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 350F. for 40 minutes, then allow to cool enough to handle.
- Using a fork, rake at the cooked flesh inside, pulling it into spaghetti-like strands. Place in a mixing bowl.
- While squash is baking, heat one tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet and saute onions until they begin to brown.
- Add mushrooms and cook until soft, then stir in the wine and chopped ham, and continue to saute until the mixture is fairly dry (ham will give up water so you don’t want that in your sauce); set aside.
- Melt the 3 tbsp. butter in the empty skillet and whisk flour into it. Quickly add cold half and half and cold milk, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, over med-low heat until sauce thickens.
- To the squash in the mixing bowl, stir in the melted butter, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, cooked mushrooms/ham, and salt and pepper if it needs it.
- Butter an oblong casserole dish and set aside.
- Stir sauce into squash, mushroom and meat mixture and toss until the squash is mixed in and coated. Pour into the casserole dish.
- Sprinkle casserole with bread crumbs.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes at 350F., or until crumbs are golden and casserole is bubbly.
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