Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Gratin

Every year, after the holidays have passed, I announce to Lee (and myself) that we are going to eat lighter. That's that. But after having allowed myself to indulge for a couple of months, I admit it is difficult to wean myself from the wonders of fat and butter. Lee will often remind me that my kitchen mantra is, "Fat is Flavor"! However, my jeans are begging me to lighten up.

This recipe called to me because it sounded like my kind of fatty comfort food, but in a lighter way. It has Parmesan cheese, whole milk (instead of cream), and it includes garlic, sage, and anchovy for intense flavor. AND not to mention the wonderful attributes of squash instead of pasta! LESS carbs, and MORE fiber!

If you aren't used to using anchovies, PLEASE believe me....when they are used in a recipe like this, there isn't a fishy flavor!! The anchovy adds a saltiness and richness that adds so much flavor it's crazy. I keep a tube of anchovy paste in my refrigerator for recipes like this (I also use anchovy paste in my "Marinara Me Marinara" - SO good).

ALWAYS use fresh Parmesan. I have nothing against the Kraft company, but the stuff that comes in that green can does NOT taste like Parmesan is supposed to taste.

Also, fresh breadcrumbs are ridiculously easy to make. Put some leftover bread cubes, ends or whatever you might have, in a food processor and whirl. You can use these immediately, or put them in the oven for a few minutes to toast, then save for later.

This recipe isn't difficult, but it will take some time, because you have to roast the squash before you make the gratin. So, only make this on a night when you have loads of time to lollygag (where does that word come from?) around the kitchen.  

Websters definition of "Lollygag": To spend time doing things that are not useful or serious : to fool around and waste time.


5 C roasted spaghetti squash (1 VERY large Spaghetti Squash)
1 C low-sodium chicken broth
1 C whole milk
2 garlic cloves,  crushed and peeled, left whole
3 TBL flour
1 TBL unsalted butter
1-2 Anchovy fillets, chopped (I used 2 squeezes from the tube)
3 tsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 C fresh breadcrumbs 
2 TBL grated Parmesan


Roast the Squash!

Preheat oven to 375.  Prick the squash all over with the tip of a knife and put the squash on a baking sheet lined with foil (or if you like to clean, don't line it). Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes, flipping after about 40 minutes.  (It should be tender when pierced with a knife).

When it's cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Scrape the inside with a fork to remove the long strands.  
This step may be done ahead of time - just keep in the fridge until time for the gratin.

For the Gratin:

1. Preheat oven to 375.  In a small pot, bring the broth, milk, and garlic to a boil over medium high and cook 1 minute. Pour into a medium bowl, and slowly add flour, whisking constantly.

2. In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add anchovies, and 2 teaspoons sage and cook, stirring 1 minute. Return broth mixture to pan, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened; about 6 minutes. Discard garlic.

3. Add squash to the pan with the sauce and season with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper). Transfer to a 2 quart shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp sage, breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then sprinkle over squash. Bake until top is golden brown and bubbling at edges, 20 - 25 minutes.


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