Monday, November 3, 2014

Spaghetti Squash and Greens Gratin

I have tried to like spaghetti squash for a long time. A squash with the texture of pasta? I already have a love for hiding pumpkin in recipes, so this should be the next logical step. 

I've tried several perfectly respectable looking recipes for spaghetti squash paired with a tomato sauce. The flavor combination of bright tomato sauce and mild, slightly sweet squash just never tasted right to me. 

But when I saw a recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Kayln's Kitchen for spaghetti squash and chard gratin, I thought it was different enough that I just might like it. Zucchini and Parmesan cheese is one of my favorite combinations, so a parm-based gratin just might work for me. I simplified Kaylin's recipe and used frozen spinach instead of chard. It was delicious. Kind of like a carbonara spaghetti squash. 

Spaghetti Squash and Greens Gratin
1 large spaghetti squash, halved, seeds and membranes removed
dash of olive oil
1 egg, beaten (this is optional; it creates a firmer texture)
1 1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste. I use 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (this might sound like a weird ingredient, but the curds melt, creating a background of cheesy goodness)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10 oz. dark leafy greens like chard or spinach (I usually use frozen cut leaf spinach)

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Rub or spray a bit of olive oil on the inside and sprinkle with salt. Place the squash face down in a pan and roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until squash can be shredded with a fork. 

If using fresh greens, saute them for a few minutes until they are wilted. You could even microwave them to accomplish this. Drain excess liquid. If you are using frozen greens, just allow them to thaw.

Mix together "spaghetti" and remaining ingredients, except for 2 T parm. Either place mixture into the hollowed out squash shells, or into a medium to large casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining parm on top. Bake approximately 20 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and slightly browned on top. 

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