Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

I didn't even know something like spaghetti squash existed until a friend mentioned it in conversation - with a name like that, it's been on my to-do list for a whole year. How that it's fall, I bought one and then thought, "what the heck does one do with a spaghetti squash?" (also, what the heck IS a sphaghetti squash?).
Chopping any type of squash is bothersome, so follow my sophisticated technique - tap the biggest knife you have onto the flesh so it's just stuck on. Then raise it high and proud and smash it on the counter like a Whack-a-Mole. Repeat smashing until it splits in half.

Once opened, the inside looks just like a normal squash. But once baked, magic happens - the squash flesh separates into long strands just like angel hair pasta! Stab and stir and scrape vigorously with a fork til its guts are totally shredded (this is almost as fun as Whack-a-Squash).

(In case you couldn't tell, I am not a classically trained chef. I am a hungry-med-student-with-puny-arms-who-needs-to-eat-squash-now sort of chef)
I don't even know how to describe the taste other than amazing - it's buttery, earthy, sweet, and mild simultaneously. So if you like pasta but are trying to cut back, this is a great low calorie substitute filled with oodles of nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene (wiki, Squash 101).
While you can eat baked spaghetti squash alone (which I did a lot of throughout the week because I had so much), I wanted something heartier with pizazz worthy presentation for dinner, so here is this lovely lasagna (adapted with my shortcuts) from The Kitchn.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


Ingredients
1 medium-sized squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 6 oz can tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
2 cups ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Basil, to garnish

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squashes in half and scoop out the seeds (save for roasting!). Place the halves cut-side down in a roasting pan or other baking dish(optional: add an inch of water). Roast for 45 to 50 minutes until soft when poked with a fork. Remove and let cool. Use a fork to shred the inside of the squash and place in a bowl.

While the squash is roasting, heat olive oil with onions on the stovetop and cook until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, ground beef, and salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste and stir until meat is fully cooked. Add both types of tomatoes and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 10-15 min.

On the roasting pan, arrange the squash shells face up like bowls. Alternate layering your ricotta, tomato sauce with beef, and cheese by spooning ingredients in the shell. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the tops of the squashes.

Bake the shells for 30-40 minutes at 400°F until the cheese is bubbly and browned (For a more golden top, broil the squashes for a few minutes). Sprinkle basil over the tops and serve immediately.

2 comments:

  1. This looks yummy AND healthy. I like how you went into the tips on how to cut the squash open. I'm trying to include more cooking tips in my blog as well.

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  2. Your method of cutting squash sounds pretty good to me :) I avoid buying squash sometimes purely for the reason that I do not want to cut it open. This looks delicious - very worthwhile prying the squash open for!

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