A New Squash Appreciation

By: admin

October 13, 2014

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When I was a little girl and was given squash for dinner, I had a couple of different ideas on how to handle this undesirable vegetable.  None of them included eating it.  I either dropped it on the floor for the dog to eat, left it on my plate until it was much to cold to eat or my favorite was to mix it with cranberry sauce and pretend I was eating peanut butter and jelly.  I said it was my favorite idea, just not a good tasting one.

Over the years, I tried in vain to acquire a taste for it.  I would think I liked the way it was prepared but when I ate it or tried to make it myself it had that same appeal that it had when I was a child.  I felt I would never grow to like squash, in any form.

Lately, however, I have been venturing out and a desire for different types of squash is burning.  I have had it pan-fried in hash and roasted in soups.  When I was at the market the other day, I went totally out of the box and picked up a spaghetti squash.  I didn’t even know how I was going to prepare it, but I knew I was going to do something!

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Imagine the odds when a couple of days later I came across this recipe from Half Baked Harvest’s blog for Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats.  I immediately went out, bought my ingredients and prepared my version of her recipe.

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I was totally amazed!  This had everything I loved about lasagna but was made with squash.  Could it be?  Could I actually have found a squash that I really loved?  I think the answer was a big yes.  I can’t really call this a healthy meal because of the cheese in it, but I do have to say it’s slightly better than eating a dish of lasagna.  Squash versus pasta equals a healthy alternative, so we have a partial win with this one.

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To make this easier if you’re in a pinch you can always use your favorite jarred sauce and for the cheese sauce, just layer parmesan and mozzarella cheese as you would in the traditional recipe.  If you do have the time however, go all out and do it as the recipe states.  It is so worth it.

Take it from a former squash hater.  This is one recipe you’ll keep!

 

 

Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Entree

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 small spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 links chicken sausage (I used garlic and basil)
  • 4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • Worcestershire to taste
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Chopped fresh basil for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off from the bulb of garlic. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top the garlic cloves and cover with foil. Roast in a baking dish for 45 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Allow to cool and then squeeze garlic out of the paper skin into a small bowl and mash well with a fork. set aside.
  3. At the same time roast the squash. Rub drizzled oil all over the cut side of the squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake about 30-45 minutes, or until the squash is just tender enough to scrape into strands. Remove from the oven and scrape the squash into strands.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  6. While the squash bakes make the sauce. In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken sausage, removed from it’s casings, and cook breaking up the meat into crumbles, stirring occasionally until well browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the onions, bay leaf, thyme, and sage and cook until softened.
  8. Add the tomatoes, basil, water and wine and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the mashed garlic.
  9. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Allow to simmer until cream starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the provolone and parmesan and stir until cheese is melted and incorporated into the cream. Add Worcestershire and hot sauce and taste for seasonings.
  11. To assemble the boats, remove a little of the squash strands and set aside. Place a layer of the meat sauce on top of the remaining strands, then a layer of the cheese sauce, the a layer of the reserved squash strands. Divide the remaining meat sauce among the boats and lastly top with remaining cheese sauce and sliced mozzarella cheese. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the squash are warm throughout and the cheese is browning. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
  12. Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
  13. Eat and Enjoy!

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