Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream

Tonight I decided to try some spaghetti squash for dinner. This recipe has been highly reviewed so I figured it would be a good one to try out. Despite some minor setbacks - my squash exploded in the microwave, but only a little bit - it came together pretty smoothly. I didn't trust the jalapenos to make it spicy enough so I used pepper-jack cheese instead of regular monterey jack. It was really yummy and we really liked it. We had it with some breadsticks and salad. It would work well as a main dish or a side dish. We're unsure as to whether we'd make it again, but it has at least piqued our curiosity in spaghetti squash!

squash

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream
Sunset, October 2008
via CLBB (LaurieLee)

We've tossed spaghetti squash with a spicy cream sauce and baked it, mac-'n'-cheese-style, for a warming, hearty side dish that doubles easily and reheats beautifully. Keep this one in mind for Thanksgiving.

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs.)
2 cups milk
2 to 3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for pans
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon or melon baller to remove seeds and surrounding fiber. Put squash, cut side down, on a lightly buttered baking sheet and bake until tender when flesh is pierced with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes. Or poke several holes in skin of squash with a fork and microwave it on high 10 minutes. Squash should be tender when pierced with a fork; if it isn't, microwave on high in 1-minute intervals until tender. Let sit until cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm milk and jalapeños until bubbles form along the edge of the pan. Remove mixture from heat and let sit 15 minutes. Strain and discard jalapeños.

3. When squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scrape the strands out of the skin and into a large bowl.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter. Whisk in flour and salt and cook, whisking, until flour smells cooked (like piecrust), about 3 minutes. Slowly pour in jalapeño-infused milk while whisking. Reduce heat to medium and continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture over squash and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a buttered 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with jack cheese and bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 30 minutes.

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