Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Oooh, this was good!!  I found this recipe in my "Spaghetti Squash" file after I had used up my last spaghetti squash of the season, so I broke down and bought another one at the grocery store so I didn't have to wait  until next fall to try this recipe.  There were no local spaghetti squash left at Root's, so I had to settle for an imported one from Mexico.  (Maybe my guilt caused me to forget to include it in the picture above!)  But, I'm so glad I made it, and I'll be sure to prepare this dish next fall when winter squash and red peppers are available in my garden.  (I tried freezing several portions, so I'm thinking I can make it when the produce is available in the fall, then enjoy it over the winter.)  I was very happy to be able to use some Italian sausage I purchased at Rooster St Provisions in Etown (what a fabulous shop!!), along with some local Raw Monterey Jack Cheese made from 100% grassfed cows that I found at the Country Store. Yum!  And, I had just enough fresh (or should I say frozen!) Italian parsley remaining in the garden to sprinkle on top.  :)

Source:  adapted from Better Homes & Gardens magazine, Sept. 2006.
(Thanks, Julia H. for passing this recipe on to me!)

1 medium spaghetti squash (2 1/4 lbs.)
12 oz. bulk Italian sausage
1 1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1/8 pepper
1 1/2 c. red pasta sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or Italian blend cheese
1/4 c. snipped fresh Italian parsley

Halve squash crosswise; remove seeds.  (Be sure to save seeds for toasting at another time!)  Oil rims of squash with olive oil.  Place cut sides down on a rimmed cookie sheet.  Roast squash at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes until just tender (when the tip of a paring knife can be slipped into the flesh with slight resistance).

While squash is roasting, in a large skillet, cook sausage, mushrooms, pepper, onion and garlic over medium heat until sausage is no longer pink; stir to break up sausage.  Drain off fat.

After removing squash from oven, turn heat down to 350 degrees.
Scrape pulp from squash (about 3 cups).  Oil a 2-quart rectangular baking dish.  Spread half the squash in dish.  Add half the sausage mixture.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and black pepper.  Top with half the sauce and half the cheese.  Top with remaining squash, sausage and sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Serves 6