Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Baked Spaghetti Squash Casserole

In my house, January is all about combining warm, comforting food with healthy options. It's also time to use up the bounty of winter squash still hanging around the kitchen.

And what better way than to combine a healthy winter squash like spaghetti squash with my own sauce, italian sausage and mozzarella cheese for an oven-baked casserole?

Spaghetti squash doesn't really taste like spaghetti. It just comes out in strands, hence the name. But it does have its own flavor and texture. I can't trick myself into thinking I'm actually eating pasta--I just embrace it for what it is. Squash. Squash coated with yummy tomato sauce and salty, creamy cheese with hunks of mildly spicy sausage. Now that's some good stuff.

Baked Spaghetti Squash

1/2 cooked spaghetti squash (see below for cooking instructions)
about 2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/4 pound italian sausage, cooked and cut up into bite-sized pieces
about 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Grease a pie plate or casserole dish and using a fork, separate spaghetti squash into strands while holding over prepared dish to direct squash into dish; top with sauce, sausage, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

With a sharp knife, stab spaghetti squash all over and place on a paper-towel lined microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 7 minutes. Turn over and microwave on high another 5-7 minutes (or more), depending on the size. Check squash with an oven-mitt-covered hand--when squash yields to gentle pressure, it's done.

Carefully remove hot squash from microwave to a cutting board. Remove stem and halve lengthwise. Be very careful of the steam! Remove seeds and enjoy.


Lulu said...

Honestly, I've never tried spaghetti squash. After reading this post, I think that I just might have to...

Mrs. W said...

The first time I tried spaghetti squash was with Giada diLaurentis' carbonara sauce recipe, and it was too... "squashy." But regular spaghetti sauce and cheese are strong enough flavors to handle it. I really like it that way; it sure doesn't get mushy like pasta does.

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