Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Trying new things, Part II: Spaghetti squash casserole

I'm just gonna put this out there: I did not believe this squash would turn into spaghetti. Once I cut the darn thing open, I was like, "Where's the spaghetti??"

Turns out you have to bake it first, and then it turns into spaghetti. Who, I wonder, was the first person to figure this out?

I tackled this new (to me) type of squash Sunday night as I made spaghetti squash casserole with ricotta and spinach — here's the recipe from Real Simple.

As the crazy squash baked, I chopped up a bunch of spinach...


...and mixed it with ricotta, minced garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper and an egg.


Once the squash was done, I scraped the spaghetti strands out (there were a ton!) and added them to the ricotta mixture.


At this point, the recipe called for two cups of grated mozzarella to be "sprinkled" on top. There is no way to "sprinkle" two whole cups of cheese, so I dumped it all on and hoped for the best.

This is a lot of cheese, kids.

But I've never been one to shy away from a lot of cheese.

After the casserole came out of the oven, I dug in (it wasn't pretty)...

...and... hmmm. It tasted pretty much how I thought it would taste, except the spaghetti squash was still a bit firm and crunchy. I expected it to be more like the texture of spaghetti, so I didn't know if I did something wrong or not. Also, the casserole was very cheesy — all that ricotta and all that mozzarella.

I'll say this once, and then we can all forget I ever wrote these words: There was too much cheese.

I wasn't wild about my first serving of this casserole, but I had leftovers for lunch on Monday and I liked it much better. The spaghetti squash became softer and more like the consistency I initially thought it would be, and the mozzarella melted nicely in the microwave and mixed in with the rest of the casserole.

I think this would be much better with the addition of some marinara sauce to make it more lasagna-like, but I'll enjoy eating the rest of these leftovers.

I tend to eat the same things all the time, so I'm trying to make an effort to experiment with unfamiliar foods and new recipes. I have a container of leftover spaghetti squash that wouldn't fit into the casserole, so I'll have some fun figuring out different ways to eat it.

Ideas and suggestions are welcome!

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