Let’s face it. Most veggies in the store can be a bit boring. Nobody gets excited about broccoli or celery.
Even the more exotic looking veggies (different colored radishes, for example) are still pretty standard. Don’t get me wrong. I eat all of these delicious veggies and love them. But I’m not sure that I would describe them as fun
Enter spaghetti squash, hands down the most fun gourd on the market. It’s seriously a magical thing. I dare you to make one and not smile when you start shredding the squash flesh and it somehow turns into spaghetti strands.
It’s just cool.
I’ve cooked spaghetti squash a lot of different ways over the years (because it’s fun) but this spaghetti squash casserole
is one of my favorite ways to prepare it.
Talking about the casserole now though is getting a bit ahead. First you have to master the art of cutting one of these things in half!
This is always kind of awkward, but this is seriously the hardest part of the recipe so just work through it.
The easiest way I’ve found to cut one in half is to start with my biggest knife (10 inch chef’s knife) right in the center. Push down on the knife so it stabs into the squash. Then, once the knife is all the way into the squash, push it down and it will slice half of the squash open.
Repeat on the other side and you should be done.
Once your squash is halved, bake it (skin-side up) for about 60 minutes at 350 degrees.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool until you can handle it. Then scrape out the seeds and use a fork to start lightly shredding the flesh.
This is the fun part!
Once you have all the spaghetti
out of the squash, add it to a bowl with the ricotta cheese and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir it together well to make sure the ricotta is evenly distributed.
As a substitution, you could use cottage cheese instead of ricotta without a problem.
Reason number two this recipe rocks: It has bacon in it. Perfectly crispy bacon.
The definitive way to make crispy bacon is to bake it on a wire rack. Just set a wire rack on a baking sheet and then lay out your bacon strips. Bake them at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes and your strips will be perfect and crispy.
This method allows the grease to drip away from the bacon as it cooks and also keeps it nice and straight.
The only other thing you need to make for this recipe is a simple tomato sauce. During the winter months, you could use canned tomatoes (I recommend Muir Glenn Organic) but since it’s still tomato season, try it with cherry tomatoes.
Add the tomatoes to a pan with a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the tomatoes until they burst and cook down. It’ll take about 15 minutes total. Then remove the sauce from the heat and add some fresh basil.
Once you have the pieces done, making this casserole is pretty straightforward. Layer in half of your spaghetti squash mixture. Then top with all your tomato sauce.
Add your bacon strips in a single layer on top of the tomato sauce.
Then top with the rest of your spaghetti squash mixture and grated cheese.
Bake this at 375 degrees for 20 minutes just to give the casserole a chance to heat all the way through and the cheese to melt.
All the flavors work really well together!
There’s nothing especially hard about this recipe, but the end result is a pretty impressive casserole. People will think it’s some kind of crazy baked pasta dish until they try it. The squash actually makes it a much lighter
It’s fun, reasonably healthy and just plain tasty.
Next time you see a spaghetti squash, grab it!
More Spaghetti Squash RecipesNick wonders why they haven’t made an elbow macaroni squash yet. For other insightful questions, check out his blog, Macheesmo, and his Tablespoon Profile.