Lazy Gluten Free: Baked Spaghetti Squash Gratin

Baked Spaghetti Squash Gratin


I am always amazed at how well I did finding things to eat shortly after I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008. There were not nearly as many gluten free products on the market then as there are now, and I remember that Chex cereal had just made their Rice Chex gluten free. That was an exciting day when I learned that. Anyway, since there were no real good tasting GF pastas at the time, I quickly discovered spaghetti squash. 


Although a vegetable, spaghetti squash resembles the stringy-ness of spaghetti noodles and is very delicious when topped with some pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. I always like to look for new recipes to incorporate this squash, since it's significantly healthier than regular pasta, and it's fairly easy to make.This recipe tasted very light and fresh with the ricotta adding a little extra flavor. It was kind of hard to believe that this was a healthier dish, and trust me, I would know, I am not a health nut by any means....


Baked Spaghetti Squash Gratin

You will need:
1 spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)

Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (28 ounce) cans diced  tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
Dash: salt, pepper

Gratin Topping:
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta (or cottage) cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
Dash salt

1) In a large pan, heat the oil and add garlic, saute for about 2 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix. Add the diced tomatoes (make sure they are drained well) and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally.

2) Meanwhile, using a fork or knife, poke a few holes in the spaghetti squash (if you skip this you may end up with a squash-explosion in your microwave...). Place on a microwave-safe plate or dish and microwave for 8 to 10 minutes, or until soft and steaming. Be very careful as the squash will be extremely hot. Remove from microwave and let cool for a few minutes.

3) In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, oregano, thyme and salt. Set aside.

4) Preheat oven to 400F and spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

5) Once slightly cooled, cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard. Using a fork, scrape out the strands and place into the prepared baking dish. Pat down gently.

6) Spread sauce on top of squash. Using a spoon, spread cheese mixture on top of sauce. 

7) Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned.

Adapted from The Kitchen is My Playground's Baked Spaghetti Squash Gratin