Spaghetti squash is the first squash that my husband was willing to try when we were dating. It's a good squash to serve to people who might not think that they love squash - and my husband now loves all varieties! We normally serve spaghetti squash as a side dish, roasted and served simply with a little bit of butter, some parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. However, after picking one up at the farmer's market this past week (spaghetti squash can also be found at most grocery stores) I wanted to try something different with it and was inspired by a recipe in the New York Times. It certainly tastes like comfort food but with a healthy spin on it. Plus, it looks beautiful coming out of the oven! We served it as a main dish with a green salad.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin
Serves 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side
Active Time: ~30 min
Total Time: ~1 hr 15 min
Extra virgin olive oil
1 spaghetti squash
1 large red onion or 2-3 large cipollini onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. low-fat (2%) milk
1/2 c. packed fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
1 t. fresh thyme, finely chopped
4 oz. feta, crumbled
1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half lengthwise (I find it helps to microwave it for a minute first), scoop out the seeds, and place it cut side down on a sheet pan or roasting pan (with sides). Fill the bottom of the pan with about a 1/4'' of water, or enough to coat the bottom of the pan and touch the sides of the squash. Bake for 45 minutes. Keep the oven on at 400 degrees.
Meanwhile, after the squash has been baking for about 20 minutes, thinly slice the onion(s) and mince the garlic cloves. I used these beautiful large cipollini onions from the farmer's market that were about the size of one red onion when put together, but you can definitely just use a red onion (or yellow if you don't have red). Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and saute until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes, adding the garlic after 15 minutes.
When the squash is done, remove it from the oven, turn the squash halves cut side up, and use a fork to loosen the squash strands. Scoop out the strands and add them to the skillet with the onions, stirring to combine. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash softens a little more. Season with 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk, then stir in the basil, thyme, and feta. Add the squash and onion mixture and stir to combine. Grease a large oval gratin pan or similar large baking dish and fold in the squash mixture. Cover with the parmesan cheese, pressing down lightly on the cheese to moisten slightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown.