Spaghetti Squash Gratin

One of the last remnants of my winter squash extravaganza at the last farmer’s market was a spaghetti squash. Yellow and oblong, it was rather unassuming in appearance, but its promised stringy flesh was honestly more scary for me than the types of squash that can at least be pureed effectively and hidden in baked goods. I doubted the comparison to real spaghetti, and pictured a slimy sort of stringiness akin to acorn squash or certain sweet potatoes. Eventually, though, I knew I was going to have to take on that spaghetti squash, and last night was as good as any.

Seems like every recipe I researched had a different method of cooking spaghetti squash: halved or whole (with knife pricks), steamed, boiled, roasted, microwaved, cut halves up or down. Most suggest that you will pretty much get the same outcome no matter how you cook it, but Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini suggested that roasting evaporates some of the moisture from the squash, deepening the flavor and preventing mushiness, so I went that route. However you do it, if you cut the squash in half, go about it with caution—mine was really hard to hack into, and I ended up using a cleaver.

I was definitely not prepared to just cook up the squash, dump on some marinara, and pretend it was spaghetti. No, I need to ease into food this scary with a comforting application, and although I considered croquettes, in the end a gratin was just what the doctor ordered—creamy, cheesy, and covered with crunchy crumbs. I went light on the squash and heavy on the sauce, and then served it with some salmon fillets with a mustard-maple glaze. To my amazement, Nolan ate more of the spaghetti squash than he did of the salmon, which he usually loves; we all liked it, and scraped the dish clean.

I’ve still got about half the spaghetti squash in the refrigerator, waiting to be put to use differently. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, or I might end up just making another gratin—that wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

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