I apologize for the mini vacation I took from this little blog of mine! Catching up with “life” was long overdue and much needed. But the good & promising thing is, it’s FALL! My all time favorite season of cooking & eating. So I can assure you that I will annoy you with all things pumpkin, squash, nutmeg, cinnamon…please embrace this season of happy with me!
My #1 favorite during fall/winter season would definitely be a giant, warm bowl of pasta. Literally nothin’ better. That with a side of Netflix and I’m done in.
This recipe is one of those BUT without actual pasta. As weird and impostor-like as this sounds, this is one for the books for sure. And a little less guilt involved because we are going to use spaghetti squash instead of noodles ;)
makes 4 servings
for the spaghetti squash:
2 mini/small spaghetti squashes, halved & seeds removed
salt & pepper
for the cheese sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk (I like to use 1%)
1 cup-ish shredded white cheddar cheese (seriously, use however much you want!)
2 tablespoons ground sage
2 tablespoon ground thyme
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
salt & pepper
for the panko topping:
4 oz pancetta
2 shallots, diced
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Drizzle spaghetti squash halves with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Turn facing down on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.
2. While squash is cooking, start making your cheese sauce by making a roux (mixture of flour + butter). Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat, add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Then add flour and whisk until mixture is pretty thick.
3. Slowly add milk, cheese and spices, whisking until all the cheese is melted. Let it hang out over low heat until squash is done.
4. When squash is done and is not too hot too handle, use a fork to pull out strands of the squash. Try to soak up extra moisture and water from squash with paper towels. Literally I just put all the strands on a giant plate and press down on it with paper towels…seems funny but it will soak up a lot of that excess moisture.
5. Transfer squash to a big mixing bowl and add cheese sauce one ladle full at a time. Often, I make more cheese sauce than I actually need so just save some for later if that happens! We dont want to drown the spaghetti squash in cheese sauce here ;) then transfer into oven safe ramekins.
6. Heat small skillet over medium-high heat, add EVOO and when pan is hot, add pancetta and shallots until lightly browned.
7. In a small bowl, mix panko with pancetta/shallot and top over the spaghetti squash
8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until panko mixture is lightly browned.