As a person that loves to cook and blog, I find it necessary to seek out and try new recipes. My lucky husband rarely gets the same meal twice, except for his pasta, which is required weekly. With this in mind, I delved into my extensive files (I have them sorted by category in plastic file folders) and came across a recipe from Delicious Orchards. The recipe must be over 20 years old and is from the fall/winter season. One side of the sheet has recipes for acorn and butternut squash (I’ve made the baked squash and apple casserole, delish!) and the other, spaghetti squash.
The recipe that they gave was for spaghetti squash casserole. Although, not quite technically “pasta” for my husband, he has a new fondness for spaghetti squash.
For this casserole you’ll need, onion, garlic, fresh tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, oregano, salt, pepper, cottage or ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parsley, basil, thyme, bread crumbs, butter and Parmesan cheese.
I tweaked the recipe for my taste by omitting the mushrooms, thyme and breadcrumbs. I substituted Pecorino Romano cheese for the Parmesan (tangier than Parmesan) and used whole milk ricotta. To further “gild the lily,” I had some leftover grated Fontina cheese that I placed on top.
I cooked the squash the night before we were going to eat it, which helped cut down meal prep the following day. Also, the squash I purchased was quite large. I eyeballed enough squash to fit in a two-quart baking dish once all the ingredients were added. I also took the time to blanch the tomatoes so I could remove their skin and seeds. It took approximately 15-20 minutes to prep the tomato sauce. However, once that was complete, I took out a six-quart Dutch oven pot to mix all the ingredients together.
Using the convection setting on my oven, the casserole was bubbling in 30 minutes. The casserole was scrumptious! It had all the flavors of a baked pasta, but much lighter tasting and not as filling. Although I didn’t add the breadcrumbs, there was a bit of liquid in the dish, but it was enough to make me want to add the breadcrumbs next time. The liquid is probably a result of the further vegetables and their release of moisture. Overall, a nice alternative to regular pasta.
Spaghetti Squash Casserole
From the kitchen of Delicious Orchards
Colts Neck, NJ
1-8” Spaghetti squash
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
2 fresh tomatoes (medium sized)
½ lb. sliced mushrooms
½ teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper
1 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon basil
Dash of thyme
1 cup fine bread crumbs*
Butter for sauté*
Parmesan cheese for the top
Preheat oven to 375°. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Bake it, face down, on a buttered tray for 30 to 40 minutes, or until pierced by a for.
While the squash bakes, sauté the onions and garlic with salt, pepper, mushrooms and herbs. When onions are soft, add freshly chopped tomatoes, cook until most of the liquid evaporates. When the squash has cooled, scoop out the strands using a fork, which will form into spaghetti strands.
Combine the squash strands and the rest of the ingredients. Pour into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. Top with lots of grated Parmesan. Bake at 375°, uncovered for approximately 40 minutes or until it bubbles.
*For my preparation, I used whole milk ricotta cheese. In place of Parmesan, I used Pecorino Romano. which has a nice tang. I topped the casserole with leftover grated Fontina cheese. I omitted the thyme and breadcrumbs. It made for a wonderful baked “pasta” meal.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.