Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Mushrooms
Ah, the annual spaghetti squash conundrum. Right about this time every year our lovely CSA farmer Tricia Bross sends us a bright yellow spaghetti squash. My reaction is always the same – slight revulsion and confusion over what to do with this tricky squash.
Revulsion, you might ask? What can a local foodie minded gal have against the cheerfully colored spaghetti squash? I have three words for you: Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti.
Have any of you had Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti? Have you had good spaghetti squash spaghetti? I myself most definitely have not. In my previous hippy co-op housing situations I have had many a terrible spaghetti squash spaghetti experience. Strange, somehow creepy strings of squash would sit in their puddle of marinara sauce, over cooked and not at all like the spaghetti noodle my poor taste buds were expecting. As a rule, there would also be some sort of faux meat “meatball” crashing this party on my plate, which would inevitably break into small pieces that were not at all meat like, but definitely textured vegetable protein-like. I grew to dread the appearance of spaghetti squash, to hate and fear the mealy insides that I knew would be served in a bath of poorly seasoned red tomato-based sauce. Even after moving out of the co-ops, my feelings toward spaghetti squash did not change.
I really wanted to like it. It’s such a happy yellow color, Tricia took the time and effort to grow it for us, and really, aren’t all squashes given a birthright of deliciousness? What kind of local foodie am I, if I hate an entire variety of squash?
Well, I am happy to report that as of tonight, spaghetti squash and I are officially BFF. Thanks to the intervention of Deborah Madison and her amazing recipe for Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Chanterelles, I am now a fan of the spaghetti squash.
To celebrate, Emily and I popped open a bottle of wine and toasted our expanded food horizons.
What’s up with this recipe? Well, it’s surprisingly easy (hurray!). I roasted the approximately 3 pound spaghetti squash we received with last week’s CSA until it was a bit toasted on the outside. Since I knew we wouldn’t have time to wait 1.5 hours for a squash to roast on a Sunday night, I did the cooking of the squash one day in advance. It sat happily in the fridge until this afternoon, when I scooped out its seeds and used a fork to scrape rice noodley squash from its interior. The Co-op didn’t have chanterelles (in fact, neither the fabulous Katie N. in the produce department nor I really knew what they were- thank goodness for Google in the back room), so we replaced them with crimini mushrooms (thanks again Katie N. and Google). Sauteing the mushrooms in butter, garlic and cream was the first sign that everything was going to turn out all right. Once we baked that mixture with our little spaghetti squash noodles, lightly covered with freshly grated Parmesan cheese…. Whoa. It was divine. I am a devote follower of all things Deborah Madison because of nights like tonight.
Now I am here, sharing my warm fuzzy feelings of squashy love and success with you, dear readers. I absolutely LOVE when I can cross a “vegetable I don’t like” off my list of aversions, and find a new, 100% local meal to enjoy. I cannot recommend Madison’s cookbook, Local Flavors, enough. Well, unless you’re vegan- it’s really not the best cookbook for vegans, since its recipes are chock full of butter. It you are not vegan, however, than go check it out! Prepare your taste buds for delight!
What about y’all? Overcome any food phobias lately? Have a spaghetti squash experience to share?