I originally stumbled across this recipe at the Jimmy Dean website, and after playing with it, figured I would share my results since I took photos of the process and all. This recipe may be served “in a boat” (in the squash hull) or simply cooked up in a casserole dish. It’s all about presentation and preference.
The dish features flavors and colors redolent of the fall harvest, and is a great way to kick off the season of cooling temperatures and the glorious autumnal colors of nature.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH AND SAUSAGE
Prep time: 45minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
1 pound pork sausage
1 spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup smoked Gouda, shredded
1 med or small onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp butter
1 lemon, halved
2 cups baby leaf spinach
Cooking spray – I prefer olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Render your squash by slicing in half longways, removing the seeds, and applying olive oil to all the exposed meat surfaces. Roast or microwave until soft. Allow the squash to cool before attempting to handle it. Using a fork or large spoon, scrape the meat out into a bowl and allow it to rest. Be careful to keep the hulls intact. Those may be set aside for later use if desired.
Use cooking spray on a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft and slightly caramelized. Break up the sausage into the skillet with the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally until the meat is mostly done. Add butter and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. This may also be rendered in a microwave rather than on a stove top, but be sure to use a large microwave safe bowl.
Add the spaghetti squash, spinach, and desired salt and pepper. Cook while stirring occasionally until the squash is nicely broken up and the spinach has begun to wilt. Add the juice from the other half of the lemon, half of the grated cheese, and stir it all up.
If you are using the squash hulls, load them with the sausage mixture. If you are using a casserole dish, spray it with you preference of cooking sprays, then fill it up.
Top evenly with remaining cheese and bake at 375ºF until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown and dish is heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
Allow to rest for five minutes before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
This is not the original recipe, but one that I fiddled with as I am wont to do. The original called for a panko-based topping, and no gooey cheese. It’s probably healthier that way, but in my house cheese is pretty much a necessity in just about everything.
There are lots of variations that spring to mind for this recipe. Using turkey sausage instead of pork, using kale or another leafy green with or in place of the spinach, and adding other spices to the mix all sparked right off. Toppings might be as simple as a sprinkle of parmesan, or bacon crumbles, or freshly diced parsley or chopped chives. Basing the dish on curry and using a ground meat rather than a pre-spiced sausage sounds tasty, as does a Cajun version.
As with all the recipes I post, have fun with it! Try it out, twist it up and make it your own.