Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spaghetti Squash for Fat 'n' Happy Girls and Boys

Poor spaghetti squash is one of the pets of the diet crowd. Just because it vaguely looks like spaghetti, the sad, low-cal crowd covers it with red sauce, add a meatball and the barest sprinkling of cheese and calls it Spaghetti and Meatballs. Ugh. Oh, just give it up. It’s too good to hand over to that penitential group of eaters.

Spaghetti squash is a real kitchen chameleon. Once cooked, you just pull it into gently crunchy strings, and it is a wonderful foil for all sorts of sauces. Especially nice, rich ones. Butter, olive oil, pesto,  cheese, cream, you name it, it’s good on it. My current favorite combines cooked spaghetti squash with spinach and a Gorgonzola and garlic cream sauce and then baked until brown.  Low carb, but so luxurious, who would know, or care?

Easiest to cook by either microwaving or baking, (Google it) once the spaghetti squash is cooked, the other ingredients only will take one big fry pan and a 1-1/2 qt. gratin or other shallow baking dish.

Spinach, Spaghetti Squash and Gorgonzola Gratin

1 2-pound spaghetti squash, cooked and “pulled”
2T olive oil
1 10-oz bag of fresh spinach, rinsed and coarsely chopped
½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 cups heavy cream
1T of minced garlic (about two big cloves)
¼ teasp. grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Oil a gratin dish, about 1 to 1-1/2 quart size and set aside.

In a 12” non-stick fray pan, heat the oil, and then stir in the chopped spinach, continuing to stir until it is all wilted and there is no liquid left in the pan. Place the cooked spinach in the oiled gratin, and top with the cooked squash, spreading each layer evenly. Scatter the gorgonzola over the top.

In the fry pan add, the 2 cups of cream, the garlic and the nutmeg. Heat over medium to medium low heat until it begins to bubble gently. Turn the heat down until it just simmers (big boil-over risk here so watch it carefully) and let it cook about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until it’s reduced by about 1/3 in volume. Grind in a couple of grinds of black pepper, whish again and carefully pour over the squash mixture in the gratin.

Place the dish in the oven and bake approximately 45 minutes or until the top is lightly brown and the sauce has thickened even more. Let cool about five minutes before serving. Makes 4 – 6 servings and is nice alongside grilled chicken or fish. 

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