Have you ever been in love, but your family disapproves quite vociferously? Okay, well I haven't...until now. It's fall. A glorious time to be a foodie. Except for one fact: my family hates winter squash in any form. Now my kids have learned to like a lot of foods over the years. Squash will not be one of them. Why? Because my husband carries on. If I serve eggplant which my kids hate and Mark likes, he will tell them to eat it; it's good. But with squash, he vehemently defends their rights to mutiny at the dinner table. Now, really, I have never been one to care about specific dislikes when cooking for my family. That may sound cruel, but out of the three of them, someone is bound to object. Daughter dislikes barbecue sauce and mashed potatoes, but likes escargot and calamari. Son likes chili and ribs but is only recently learning to like salads. And husband doesn't like: corn (unless it is fresh creamed), winter squash, sweet potatoes, blueberries, cooked carrots or cauliflower or broccoli, peas, sauerkraut (except in a reuben), blue cheese, or lentils. (I am sure this is not the complete list.)
So my solution to all of this has always been to cook a variety of foods. Like the weather in Pennsylvania, if you don't like what you get--wait a day. I try to use ingredients in unique ways, varying my presentation of said disdainful food so that the customer may find one preparation tolerable. That's how we found out that Mark likes fresh creamed corn and reubens.
Back to the romance. I made a recipe last night that was easy and to die for: Spaghetti Squash gratin. I adapted it from Wegman's website. Nuke the squash, spoon it into a dish with some grated asagio cheese, fresh herbs (which I still have), light cream cheese. Bake. Voila. Perfection. Served it will some sausage. We had Kielbasa, but smoked sausage would have been a good choice, too. I don't often post recipes, but I will for this one because I loved it so much. Alas, I am banned from making it ever again, but lucky for me, I got to eat all the leftovers for lunch today. Think of me when you are eating this or better yet--invite me over.
Spaghetti Squash Gratin (aka Romeo)
SERVES 8 ACTIVE TIME: 15 min TOTAL TIME: 45 min
1 spaghetti squash (2-3 lbs), halved, stem to blossom end, and seeded
1 clove garlic chopped
Several T of fresh chopped herbs. I used oregano, thyme, and parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1 pkg (8 oz) Light cream cheese
1 cup grated Asiago cheese (You could use Parmesan or Romano)
You'll Need: 2-qt shallow casserole dish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place squash, skin side up (one half at a time), on microwave-safe dish; cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH 10-12 min, until tender. Let rest covered 10-15 min, until cool enough to handle; carefully remove plastic wrap to avoid steam.
Run tines of fork lengthwise over cut surface of squash to loosen spaghetti-like strands; scoop out strands. If necessary, drain excess liquid. Set aside.
Combine garlic, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, cream cheese, and 2/3 cup cheese in small bowl. Fold into squash; place in shallow ovenproof casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake 20 min or until lightly browned.
Chef Tip(s):May be cooked in individual ramekins.