I’ve been wanting to cook with spaghetti squash for a while. Spaghetti squash recipes are all the rage on pinterest right now. I think that’s what got me thinking about cooking with it. I also have TONS of fresh vegetables in my fridge right now that I need to cook up ASAP before they all go bad. I always do this. I buy too much fresh produce because everything looks so good in the store and because I love vegetables. Portabella mushrooms and leeks were among the veggies I purchased this time along with the spaghetti squash. I also bought cabbage, carrots, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, baby zuccini and a vegetable stir-fry mix from Trader Joes (which had tons of yummy fresh vegetables already chopped up for me). Needless to say, I’ve been eating A LOT of veg.
This was my first time cooking with spaghetti squash and it was fun, very easy, and obviously a healthy alternative to pasta. Also, because I wasn’t eating actual pasta, I felt like I could make the sauce a little more decadent. The sauce started out as a classic bechamel sauce (a white sauce consisting of milk thickened by a butter and flour roux) and then I added a whole bunch of sharp white cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese to the already thick and creamy sauce. I also sauteed some leeks and mushrooms and added that to the sauce. It was the perfect accompaniment to the spaghetti squash. If you don’t like spaghetti squash, you can obviously serve the sauce over pasta but really spaghetti squash is so much fun! It’s also so versatile. This will not be my last time cooking with it.
1 spaghetti squash
10 oz sliced baby portabella mushrooms
2 leeks thinly sliced, washed and dried
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of flour
4 cups milk (I used skim)
2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Start with the squash. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top part with the stem off of the squash and then cut the squash in half CAREFULLY (this part was a bit of a struggle for me). Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Lay on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes.
2. While the squash is cooking. In a large skillet, pot, or dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and leeks (washed and dried) to the pot, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sautee until tender (about 5-7 minutes).
3. Remove the veggies to a separate plate or dish and set to the side.
4. In the same pot, add the 4 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Add the 4 tablespoons of flour to the butter and stir until smooth letting the butter and flour cook together for a few minutes.
5. Next, slowly start to add the four cups of milk to the butter and flour roux. Add about a cup at a time and whisk continuously until smooth. *Note: Some recipes will tell you to heat the milk first but I didn’t for this recipe.
6. Let the sauce continue to thicken for about 7-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring it frequently.
7. Once the sauce is thickened add in the cheese, both the cheddar and the parmesan. Stir until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed.
8. Add the sauteed mushrooms and leeks into the sauce and stir to combine.
9. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm until the squash is ready.
10. Once the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and use a fork to pull “spaghetti” shreds from the squash. I used an oven mitt for this since the squash was hot!
11. Now, it’s ready to serve. Help yourself to a generous portion of spaghetti squash (no carbs yay!) and then add a good helping of the creamy sauce, mushrooms and leeks to the squash. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.