This is a perfect dish for fall with its nutty flavor and hints of sage and garlic. Even if you proclaim to not enjoy squash – you will need to give this a try! This can be a vegetarian entree or a side, or a wonderful accompaniment to baked or broiled fish such as tilapia or cod.
It’s actually a really easy dish to prepare – it just takes some time to bake the squash. Once the squash is done, it comes together very quickly. I love that it feels like a light dish in spite of the cheese and half-and-half.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- freshly grated nutmeg or dried nutmeg (scant amount)
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (used throughout the recipe)
- Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Poke holes in the squash and place in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – it should be browned in spots and tender. Remove from the oven and let it cool down enough for you to handle it. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. To make the “strands” of the spaghetti squash, take a dinner fork and drag the tines through the flesh into a medium bowl. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the squash, add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, garlic, sage, thyme, and nutmeg, and season with freshly ground pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-low heat; reduce heat to low and let reduce by about 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Remove the garlic and the thyme sprig.
- Add 1 cup of Gruyere cheese to the half-and-half mixture and whisk until it melts.
- With the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter, grease a shallow baking dish, preferably no larger than a two quart size. Add the spaghetti squash and the half-and half mixture to the baking dish and spread in an even layer. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Top the squash with the remaining 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese, and then the Parmesan cheese. Top the cheeses with the bread crumbs.
- Bake in a 400 degrees F oven for about 18-20 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and broil 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, to brown the top. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes.
© Kitchen Serendipity 2011