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Garlic bread spaghetti squash

Okay, vacation is over for me {Michele}, and back to the normal day to day. We went up to Cape Cod for a few weeks and really got to turn off all electronics and just sit around and do nothing. Now, back in the city and feel like we left wearing floaty dresses, and came back bundled up in sweaters. I guess Autumn is here. If the Farmer’s Almanac is to be believed, we are in for a super chilly winter, so, I guess it is time to start digging out the winter clothes, and more importantly, start getting ready for all the fun winter food to be made. I love summer produce and how bright and fresh it is, but, my favorite time of year to cook is Fall. You get all the pumpkins, holiday treats, cinnamon spiked everything and big turkey feasts to look forward to. I haven’t seen any pumpkins in the store yet, but I have seen a ton of spaghetti squash, so we’ll have to wait for the pumpkin treats and start here. 

I had never heard of spaghetti squash until a few years ago. I was so excited to try it out and see if I could get my pasta craving sorted without all the extra carbs. At the time, I was doing a low-carb diet to lose baby weight, so I was extra excited. However, after I made it, I just wasn’t impressed. I made it with tomato sauce too, and I guess it tasted like spaghetti a bit, but not really. It definitely tasted too healthy. If you know what I mean. So, I went back a few more times and tried different methods and just never really was impressed. So, there I was about a month ago and saw that the squashes were back in season and decided to give it another go, but this time with my favorite pasta sauce that basically is so garlicy and cheesy that it tastes like garlic bread. While baking the squash, I got distracted and had to run out to the store, so I turned off the oven and let it sit in there while I went and ran some errands. Well, that extra time in the oven did something to it. It was way more mushy and flavorful. When mixed with the sauce, it was just awesome. So, I guess I was undercooking it before, or, perhaps, I just like it overcooked. So, this recipe really bakes it into mush, and that’s not a bad thing.  

Since all the ingredients in this recipe are natural and not processed, we need to make sure that we get the most fresh and best quality possible. 

What to look for: a spaghetti squash with a firm, dry rind free of soft spots and cracks. Squash should be heavy for its size  with a firm, dry, rounded stem, which helps keep out bacteria.

Cut it open with your sharpest knife. 

Put your childhood pumpkin scooping skills to use (finally!), and scrape out all the seeds and pulp. 

Line a baking sheet with foil, and spray it with olive oil. Spray the squash with a little olive oil as well and generously salt and pepper both halves. It’s okay to really go nuts here. It will all be mixed together later, so don’t worry about over doing it. 

Flip the squash over to bake. Bake for an hour at 400 degrees. Turn the heat off and then let sit in the closed oven later on to finish cooking while also cooling down. 

Scrape all the spaghetti flesh into a mixing bowl. 

Gather the rest of your ingredients to whip up the sauce. 

We definitely want to use fresh minced garlic and fresh parsley in this recipe. Sometimes, garlic powder and dried parsley works perfectly in recipes, but in this case since everything is fresh and we want a lot of flavor bang for our flavor bucks, go ahead and buy fresh. If you can only buy parsley in huge bundles and hate wasting it, try to get creative with the leftovers: toss in with salad, put it on your sandwiches, throw it on top of your pizza delivery. You will be able to use it up if you really try. 

Now, this is my favorite part. This sauce is so delicious. You can easily throw it over regular pasta if you don’t want to use it with squash and it is so freaking good. The trick is to fry the garlic in the butter before adding in the cream and cheese. That gives it the toasty garlic bread taste. Plus, your home will smell ridiculously good. So, you heat the butter in a saucepan and once it is bubbling and looking like this, throw in the minced garlic. Let it cook and simmer for about a minute. Then toss in the half and half after the garlic is all toasted. Turn the heat to very low and let simmer for about ten minutes while stirring every 30 seconds or so. 

Grate your parmesean cheese as finely as possible because we are going to melt it in our pot. So, the finer you grate it, the easier it will melt together. 

Throw 3/4 of your cheese into the saucepan and continue to cook over low heat. Set the other 1/4 aside to sprinkle on top later on. Stir with a wooden spoon to help the cheese melt. Keep the heat very low so nothing burns since this is all dairy and very prone to burning. In theory, you could probably turn the heat off and just let the cheese melt at it’s own rate, but a little heat will help speed up the process. So, keep the heat low, stir often and slowly the sauce will start to form that creamy cheesy mix we all know and love. 

In between stirring the saucepan above, wash and pat dry the parsley. Cut into little pieces. I use a tiny pair of kitchen scissors because I just can’t seem to chop herbs with a knife very well. Do it however you want, but a little cheap pair of scissors that you only use for herbs is a good investment in my opinion. 

Mix the parsley into the squash and set aside. Grease a medium sized casserole dish and turn the oven back onto 400 degrees. 

Once the sauce seems all melted together and incorporated (mine took about two more minutes after this picture was taken), take off the heat and pour on top of the squash. 

Transfer squash to baking dish and sprinkle remaining Parmesan on top. Bake for twenty minutes so everything really melts together. You can also stop at this step and cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake and eat. This would be so easy to have ready to go in the fridge and then pop in the oven after a long day of work. So, if you want, then just cover with foil or saran wrap at this point and pop in the oven later. You will need to bake it for about ten minutes longer since it will be cold, but that’s the only difference. 

Once all cheese is melted and your dish looks like this, then pull it out of the oven and serve hot. 

Garlic Bread Spaghetti Squash
Serves 2
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr 20 min
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
3 hr 20 min
Total Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 spaghetti squash
  2. 1/2 stick of butter (4 Tbsp)*
  3. 10 cloves of garlic; minced
  4. 3/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
  5. 4 oz. parmesan cheese; finely grated and divided
  6. 10 sprigs parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and dry squash.
  3. Cut in half and scrape out seeds and pulp in the inside.
  4. Line baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with olive oil.
  5. Turn squash, flesh side up, and lightly spray with olive oil. Then generously season with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn the squash over, flesh side against the baking sheet. Bake for one hour in the oven.
  7. Turn the heat off and let squash cool in the closed oven for another two hours.
  8. Take squash out of the oven, and using a fork, scrape out the flesh into a mixing bowl. The flesh will separate into spaghetti type strands.
For the sauce
  1. Prep remaining ingredients. Mince garlic, measure out half and half, wash and dry parsley, grate parmesan cheese as finely as possible.
  2. Melt butter on low heat in a saucepan. When butter starts to bubble, add minced garlic. Let toast for a minute.
  3. Pour in half and half and turn heat to low. Let simmer for ten minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in 3/4 of parmesan cheese. Stir frequently over low heat until everything is melted together.
  5. Add parsley to the spaghetti squash that is set aside in the mixing bowl. Give a quick stir to incorporate.
  6. Pour cheese sauce over the top of squash and parsley and mix together.
  7. Transfer to a medium sized greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining parmesan on top.
To finish baking
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted on top.
  3. (Bake for 30 minutes if you refrigerated the squash to bake later)
  4. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. *Don't substitute margarine for butter. Use real butter only and the best quality you can find since the taste will make a difference in the final product.
  2. ** Don't use the kraft parmesan cheese stuff. Buy a brick of the real stuff and grate yourself.
  3. 4 oz. is 0.25 pounds of cheese.
The Lovely Bits http://kristaandmichele.com/

 

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  • Denise - Never tried spaghetti squash but this recipes makes it sound so good.ReplyCancel

  • The Lovely Bits - It’s so easy to make, you should definitely try it. The taste is great and just tastes like whatever you put on top of it, but the texture is the hard part to get right. I have come to think of baking a spaghetti squash in the same way you would bake a potato… I’d rather have them cooked too long and a bit mushy and then under cooked and still hard and having a gross texture. Imagine how great mashed potatoes are? Now imagine how gross they are if the potatoes weren’t cooked through enough? I think that’s the problem I was having with other recipes for spaghetti squash, I just wasn’t cooking it long enough to understand how yummy and versatile they are. So, there’s my tip for the day. haha :) Let us know how it turns out!ReplyCancel

  • The Lovely Bits - Ps. This is the same sauce I made when you were out visiting and you guys were saying it tasted like garlic bread pasta. So, you can also just use the sauce and make it with pasta instead and it’s so good. This is just a lighter/healthier version of that same dish :) ReplyCancel

  • 7 months « And Baby Makes Eight - [...] Solid foods are his favorite and his best. We started him off by giving him little bites of what we were eating and then I felt like I should supplement that with some baby food, just to offer him a variety of tastes, since we eat a lot of the same stuff over and over. It also was easier on Josh during the day. He did OK with baby food for a while and then he decided he’d only eat the meat-based baby food (specifically, the Ella’s Kitchen Chick-Chick Chicken Casserole with Vegetables and Rice. Also acceptable were the Oh So Creamy Chicken and Corn Mash with Herb Sprinkles, the Lip-Smacking Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with a Sprinkle of Cheese and, the lone exception to the meat rule, the Big Smiles Cheesy Potatoes with Veggies). HOWEVER, it didn’t take him long to get over the novelty of the baby food/spoon idea and realize that we were holding out on him. Now, if we’re eating and try to feed him anything other than what we are having, he pitches a royal fit. At dinner, he generally eats more than Oliver does (granted, Oliver RARELY eats more than one bite of dinner) and seems to love anything we give him. Sunday night, he DEVOURED some Garlic Bread Spaghetti Squash. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Marley - Just wanted to share my experience with this recipe. Really tasty, however, my spaghetti squash was way overcooked and mushy. Leaving it in the oven for two hours (after turning it off) was too long for me. Typically when I bake spaghetti squash, I take it out of the oven after 1 hour and let it cool on the counter. Thanks for this recipe!ReplyCancel

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