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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

There are several reasons that I order what I do in restaurants, but one of them is to order something that I might be able to make at home.  When I was in Portland recently, my spouse and I ordered a spaghetti squash gratin that was divine.  The reason we chose this dish (which was definitely overpriced at $10) was that we had had a spaghetti squash on our window ledge for months, and hadn't been moved to make anything with it (it turns out these squashes are made to last, because when I cooked it, it was completely fine).  This dish is my attempt to recreate what we ate.

Roast the spaghetti squash--cut it in half the long way, scoop out the seed, and put it cut side down and roast at 450 degrees until the squash is done, about an hour.  Then use a fork to rake the squash out of the shell.  It should look like Angel Hair pasta.

While the squash is roasting make a bechamel sauce.
The basic proportions for this are:
  • 4 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1/4 c. Flour
  • 3 c. Milk (you can use skim to make it lighter, half and half to make it richer, or anything in between)
  • grated fresh nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste.
Melt butter in pan, and once bubbling, add the flour, stirring constantly (this works well with gluten free flour too).  Then gradually add the milk, allowing the sauce to thicken between each addition, but not allowing it to boil.  Add salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to taste.  The nutmeg is critical.

Mix the squash into the bechamel sauce--there should be enough to  coat the squash, but not so much that it is swimming in sauce.  Pour into a gratin pan, and top with grated Gruyere and Parmesan, then top with some honeyed walnut or pecan pieces.  Bake at 350 until the top is browned.

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