Some people don’t know what to do with spaghetti squash. It’s an odd vegetable. It’s a squash but has a crispy texture and comes apart in strands. So, while you can certainly prepare it they way you would prepare it they way you’d prepare other squash, the result will be very different.
But because the flesh comes apart in strands, many people use it in place of spaghetti, with tomato sauce, cheese, and everything. And, along those lines, the squash can be used in place of pasta in other ways.
Here I decided to do a modified mac and cheese, combining spaghetti squash with actual pasta. But it’s not a true mac and cheese becuase it contains no milk of any kind. But it does have 2 kinds of delicous cheese, so I call it a Cheesy Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake.
By using 2 kinds of cheese, you get a deeper, more complex flavor. The cheeses I chose are Manchego and Jarlsberg, but you can substitute any other 2 cheeses you like. Or you can go the traditional route and do straight-up Cheddar.
This also differs from standard mac n cheese in that it has a slight crunch to it from the spaghetti squash. It’s a really nice textural experience. I hope you like it.
Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Bake
Makes 4 servings.
1 small spaghetti squash (about 2 lbs.)
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup chopped white onion
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups short pasta
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
Cut off the root of the squash, then cut the squash into quarters (or large pieces). Remove the seeds and strings from the center.
Place them in a steamer and steam until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the steamer and let them cool a bit.When they’re cool enough to handle. Use a for, to scrape the flesh away from the skin.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a wide skillet. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute another minute, until fragrant.Add the paprika, then the squash, sea salt and pepper. Mix well. Transfer to a bowl.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat, tender but still firm. Drain well and add to the squash.
Add the cheeses and mix well. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.