Haaaaappy New Year!
We’re right smack in the middle of winter squash season. I find that in the middle of a season, I have to get a bit more creative with how to use things. As much as I love Spaghetti Soup or Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, we don’t want to eat it every week. Someone posted on social media that they were enjoying some Spaghetti Squash au Gratin. I knew I needed to come up with a recipe for that. It sounded amazing.
It ended up tasting a little bit like what I think it would taste like if you took grated hash browns and smothered them with cheese sauce.
It all starts with some squash roasting in the oven for about an hour. I had three squash sitting on my kitchen island. Since I knew we’d be getting another in this week’s Abundant Harvest Organics box, I figured that I should just roast them. That way, even if I didn’t use it all in this dish, I could just freeze what was leftover. Then I remembered that some friends of ours, who just had a baby, might enjoy this too. So all the squash was perfect.
While the squash roasts, a quick roux is made up. I used butter and olive oil and then added the same amount of all purpose flour (if you’re making a gluten-free version, skip the flour, and whisk 1 T cornstarch with 1/4 C cold water, and whisk it in later on when the milk mixture is really hot).
To the roux I whisked in some whole milk. A little bit at a time.
Once the milk mixture thickens, add ons go in. I chose chopped ham (but you could use chicken, beef, turkey… or omit the meat all-together), some dijon mustard, Greek yogurt, and cheese. If you had some leftover cooked veggies (like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower etc…) you could add those now too.
I added the cheese a little bit at a time, whisking until smooth-ish between additions. Then everything else hops in.
You know, if you wanted to double the recipe, you could use half for mac and cheese, pour some over roasted broccoli or cauliflower, or dip some crusty bread in it (it’s practically fondue).
The squash is scraped out of it’s skin and placed in an oven-proof baking dish. The ham and cheese sauce is stirred in.
Then it’s all topped with a bit more cheeeeeeese!
It will bake for a little while (which is really optional – you could just top your squash and go!), then stand for a few minutes, if you can handle waiting to dig in!
- 2 medium-sized spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
- 1 t olive oil
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 2 T all purpose flour
- 2 C whole milk
- 1 t dijon mustard
- 1 C greek yogurt
- to taste salt
- 6 oz. chopped ham (or chicken, beef, or turkey… or omit the meat all-together)
- 2 C cheese (combo of any of these: cheddar, gruyere, monterey jack, or mozzarella), grated, 1/2 C reserved
- pinch cayenne
- 1 t paprika
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Drizzle squash with 1 t olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour, or until flesh is tender.
- Heat a pan and add 1 T olive oil and butter. When it's hot, whisk in the flour. Cook for about 30 seconds. Whisk in milk, a little bit at a time, whisking until mostly smooth between additions. Bring to a simmer (but do not boil). Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat, stir in dijon, yogurt, and salt. Back on low heat, slowly add cheese, a bit at at time, whisking between additions until fairly smooth. Stir in ham. Continue to stir over low heat for about 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne and 3/4 t paprika. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
- Scrape squash from skin. Mash together in a greased 9x13 oven-proof baking dish. Stir in sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and 1/4 t paprika.
- Place baking dish on a baking sheet (in case it bubbles over). Bake on a rack in the upper portion of the oven for 15 minutes. Increase heat to 375F and bake for 15 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.