Lekker: Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash

Here's another little gem that was pinged my way by the mysterious Lucas, shared between housemate TB and I for dinner last night. He's getting back on his vegan/vegetarian diet so we're making good use of the overabundance of vegetables from our garden, and everything you see here was grown by him. On a personal level, it always pleases me when I have an opportunity to show my gratitude to TB for being such a thoughtful, caring and creative housemate. He informed me last night that he's planted spinach, turnips and beans for the fall simply because I made a throw-away remark last week that I'd never cooked with turnips before and wanted to. He's awesome, right?! Thank youuuuu Craigslist!

I also like this recipe because it's INTENDED for two people. Come on y'all, don't be #foreveralone on this one--call up a friend or neighbor to join you (or a secretly despised enemy...just remember which half you put the arsenic into.)

The photo does not do this justice; I dunno WHAT was going on with my iPhone/kitchen lighting here...trust me, it's delicious. 

Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash
makes 2 large servings

What You Need
1 large spaghetti squash
2 T olive oil, divided (that means you aren't going to use it all at once, read the recipe)
4-6 Roma tomatoes, depending on their size. Use your judgement as usual.
a large handful of basil
4-5 chives
about 3/4 cup good quality Parmesan cheese, or more, whatever you want
S&P, to taste

What You Do
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Now, we gotta slice that squash in half lengthwise and you will quickly realize that it's kind of a mother of a task. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD BE CAREFUL. Use a really sharp large knife (or a meat cleaver, for reals) and GO SLOW and again, BE CAREFUL. Drink your wine AFTER this part. It is *so* easy for the knife to slip. It took me a hot minute to get it done, but eventually I did get into it. (Protip: Don't waste your time with serrated knives. They don't work and you will only wind up with a growing pile of reject knives in the corner of the cutting board at which your roommate will glance suspiciously.)

2. You got it open without stabbing yourself? YAY! It's all gravy from here. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and the obviously stringy bits. Brush the squash (the inside parts duh) with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add salt and pepper. On a foil-lined baking sheet, turn them cut side DOWN and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.

All nicely brushed, now flip 'em over and into the oven they go.

3. So while that's rockin' and rollin' in the oven, you can dice up your Roma tomatoes, the chives (KEEP CALM AND CHIVE ON!) and basil and add it all to a big bowl with the other tablespoon of olive oil, and a wee bit more salt and pepper if you like. I just let it marinate for about 15 minutes while I waited for the squash to finish cooking.

Obviously I didn't use all of that, I'm just showing off here.

4. After about 30 minutes in the oven your squash should be done. Take it out of the oven and flip it over carefully to check the insides. They should be soft. If not, throw them back in for another 5-10 minutes. But if they're done, let them cool for a few minutes until you can handle them. Turn on the broiler in your oven because it'll take awhile to heat up. You'll want to use a fork to shred out the insides into the awesome little spaghetti-like strings that give this bad boy its name in the first place. So fun! Dump those into the bowl with the tomatoes as you gather it all up.

5. So once that's all combined, you stuff it back into the shells of the squash and top it with Parmesan cheese. Please, do not insult these beautiful vegetables by using that powdered crap. That is not cheese. You can find the good stuff in the specialty cheeses section of any grocery store.

6. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese gets all nicely browned and melty and smells like heaven. I suppose you could serve this with grilled chicken or something else, but TB and I loved it just as is.

The ONLY thing I would do differently would be to add some crumbled bacon when it comes time to stuff everything back in the shells. I think it really could benefit from that richness, but honestly we were both scraping the shells with glee anyway so I'd say it's a success.

Voila! Serve with a glass of white wine. (Because of course.)
Posted on August 20, 2013 .