Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Gratin With Basil

Every day is a new adventure and this one is blogging mid flight en route to Michigan!  That's right folks, I am now somewhere in the sky above the Cascades!  I don't think this technology is that new, but it's still boggling my mind.  My not so inner food is silently screaming at my flight neighbor, so far she has downed not one, but two Big Macs.  Two!  I've never had one in my entire life (I fear I am the worldly exception) and somehow some of their not-so-special sauce ended up on my jacket. 

In the spirit of the holidays, I think I'll keep chanting my mantra "tis the season to be jolly, tis the season to eat whatever the hell thy wants."  I mean, I didn't eat a handful or five of puppy chow last night because I ran out of food… who would do such a thing?  I really can't complain, with my wifi, a free copy of Bon Appetit and Sufjan Stevens Christmas music I should be able to enjoy the friendly skies (even though there is a fair amount of turbulence right now).

I have a large number of photos of cookies to edit, but I have been meaning to post this recipe for a while now.  The main reason I haven't?  The photo is horrible and doesn't do this dish justice.  Every. Single. Time. I make this, it is after 8 o'clock and I am eating by the light of florescent light bulbs.  It's quite romantic, trust me, especially the loving glow it casts on my food in photographs.  I found this recipe in the New York Times "Dining for Health" section sometime in October and it has been an inexpensive and healthy staple ever since.  I even taught Gabe, a guy who can't even boil water, how to make this. No matter how much the succulent squash weighs, Trader Joe's will only charge me $3 per gourd!  I almost feel like I'm robbing them when I scurry out the front doors cradling spaghetti squash in grocery bag shrouds.  Any squash leftover from roasting can be frozen in one cup increments for a (seemingly) indefinite amount of time.

**The only part of this dish that isn't so cheap is the Gruyère cheese, but if you don't feel like dropping $15 on a chunk of cheese, any slightly salty but essentially earthy cheese can be substituted in a snap.

I think I need a nap.  I've been up since 4 am Seattle-time… at least I won't have any troubles falling asleep when I'm back in Michigan.

If I don't have a chance to blog again before Christmas, Happy Christmahanakwanzika!

Spaghetti Squash Gratin With Basil
Adapted from: The New York Times
  • 1 spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond mild
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (1/4 cup basil leaves)
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup) **
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pierce the squash in several places with a sharp knife. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and place the squash on top. Bake for one hour, turning the squash every 20 minutes until it is soft and easy to cut into with a knife. Remove from the heat, and allow the squash to cool until you can handle it. Cut in half lengthwise, and allow to cool further. Remove the seeds and discard. Scoop out the flesh, and place in a bowl. Run a fork through the flesh to separate the spaghetti-like strands, then chop coarsely. Measure out 4 cups squash. 
  2. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant. Add the squash. Cook, stirring often, for five minutes until the strands of squash are a little more tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
    Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the milk, salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), pepper and basil. Stir in the squash mixture and the Gruyère, and combine well. Scrape into the baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan, and gently press down to moisten.Bake 40 to 45 minutes until nicely browned and sizzling. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot.

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