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Years ago when I was on the Atkins diet, I discovered spaghetti squash for the first time. It was foreign to me. I had no idea how to cut it much less how to cook it. I quickly read up on this intriguing and very tasty vegetable and found it to be extremely easy to prepare and cook. I’m now a spaghetti squash convert and I use spaghetti squash all the time in many recipes when I want to replace the pasta. Spaghetti squash has got a lot more flavor than pasta. To me, I think it has kind of a sweet and nutty taste. I’m no longer on the Atkins diet, but I still watch my carb intake so I’m thrilled to have found a suitable replacement for one of my favorite foods.
One of my favorite ways to eat spaghetti squash is very simply. I love it with a little butter, olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese. However, I decided to be a little adventurous and risky and try to duplicate one of my favorite pasta dishes using spaghetti squash.
I set out to make this cheesy, rich and very creamy gratin the other evening. I baked the spaghetti squash in the oven and took it out to let it cool. After it cooled, using a fork, I took out the strands of spaghetti squash and put them in a large bowl. Then, I combined sautéed onions and garlic and a little heavy cream and sour cream together and mixed it it. I decided to use a creamy gouda cheese alongside freshly grated parmesan to mix in. I topped it all off with some additional gouda and a little breadcrumbs and placed it back in the oven to melt all the cheeses.
As you can see from the pictures, the picture above of the spaghetti squash looks a little different from the picture below. One of the pictures is shown with a scattering of toasted breadcrumbs and the others are with melted cheese. That’s because we had a little leftover, so the next night I spooned a bit of the squash into ramekins, topped them with a handful of gouda cheese and put them in the oven to melt the cheese.
I really loved the way this spaghetti squash gratin turned out. It was the perfect comfort food without all the guilt. Lower in carbs and calories but not at all lacking in flavor.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin
- 1 medium sized spaghetti squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups gouda cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
To cook the Squash
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds. Rub the inside and the outside of the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a baking pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place the squash in the oven and cook until the rind is slightly soft, about 25 minutes. When it's done, scrape the spaghetti squash strands out with a fork, put them in a bowl and set aside.
To prepare the Spaghetti Squash Gratin
- Place about 4 cups of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl.
- Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet set to medium high heat. Saute the onions and garlic together for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Pour the contents of the skillet into the bowl with the squash.
- Add the dried basil, heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups of the gouda cheese, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well.
- Pour the spaghetti squash mixture into a greased baking pan. Sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the shredded gouda cheese.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the cheese is melted.