Spaghetti Squash & Mushroom Gratin
Spaghetti squash has been on my mind frequently lately...and why not? A naked cup of this crisp, flavorful pasta-substitute brings only 19 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates to the table. Easy to cook, fun to eat...it seems too good to be true.
The spectacular numbers this veggie brings encouraged me to cut loose and use a little butter, wine, bread crumbs, olive oil and Parmeggiano Reggiano in this dish. Even with these additions a one-cup serving is only 101 calories and 13 grams of carbs, so it's a perfect – and satisfying – side dish if you're looking to control calorie and carb intake.
Spaghetti Squash and Mushroom Gratin
8 servings, about 1 cup each
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 8 cups spaghetti squash, cooked (see note)
- 2 tablespoons chives, minced, plus additional for optional garnish
- 2 tablespoons savory, minced (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh tomato, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
- 1/2 cup panko (substitute: unflavored bread crumbs)
- 1/4 cup Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese, shredded
- Paprika to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the leeks, 1/2 cup wine and 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place 1 teaspoon olive oil in a heavy skillet on high heat and add the sliced mushroom caps. Sauté, stirring, about 8-10 minutes, until the mushrooms start to give up their juice. Grate in the nutmeg and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350º.
4. Prepare an 8" x 11" x 2" deep ovenproof dish (or similar) with cooking spray or a light coat of olive oil. Combine spaghetti squash, leeks and their liquid, savory, chives, mushrooms, chopped tomato and garlic in the dish and toss to combine. Correct the seasoning. Top with the panko (or breadcrumbs) and then the cheese. Scatter on some paprika, to taste.
5. Bake 20 minutes, uncovered, in the preheated oven, until the cheese is bubbly and the dish is warmed through.
Serve immediately, garnished with additional minced chives, if desired.
Cooking spaghetti squash. There are a number of ways to cook a spaghetti squash but I find the easiest is in the microwave oven: cut the squash in half the long way; remove the seeds and pulp; put 1/4" water in a microwave-safe dish large enough to hold both halves of the squash. Place the squash cut-side down in the dish and microwave 6 minutes. Check for doneness by dragging a fork through the meat of the squash: when it's done the squash will separate into spaghetti-like strands. Use the fork to extract as much of the squash as possible into a bowl. (Since microwave ovens vary and squash size varies, you may have to microwave it as long as 15 minutes.)