Monday, November 21, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

I promised you a recipe for that leftover spaghetti squash, and you're gonna get it.  You're also going to see how I eat when I'm cooking for just myself.  Things rarely make sense, and I really just indulge my cravings.  PB&J with truffle fries?  Why not?  Actually, I haven't done that yet, but now I'm seriously considering it.  Squash gratin and rosemary bread topped with pepperoni, chopped olives, and peppadews?  It's so, so right.

I never want to live in a world where crispy browned cheese is wrong.  Never never never.
What you need: leftover spaghetti squash, olive oil, Swiss cheese, milk, garlic, onion, Parmesan, sage, and shallots (optional).  I had leftover shallots that I ended up frying, but they're not necessary.  They do make this super fantastic though if you're into that sort of thing.  You could also use a bit of chopped rosemary or another herb you have.  I had sage, which I love for squash.
Let's do a little prep work.  Give half an onion a fine dice and your garlic a nice mince.  Roughly chop the sage.  It doesn't have to be super tiny, but you don't want to chew on whole leaves.
Grate some Parmesan and Swiss cheese.  It's only supposed to be 1 1/2 tbs and 1/3 c respectively, but I took a little liberty with the measurements.  It's kind of what I do.
We's gon' need to cook those onions.  And the garlic.  In some olive oil.  Season with salt and let them get soft.
Now we're going to add the squash to the pan with the onions.  Toss it around and cook for about 5 minutes.
In a bowl, crack your eggs and beat them with the milk.  I used the same bowl the squash had been in; I just wiped it out first.
Take the squash off the heat and crack some pepper over it along with a dash of salt.
Add the chopped sage to the bowl with the eggs and milk.
Add the squash and Swiss cheese and stir the combine them all.  Let all the ingredients hang out, get to know each other.
Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and sprinkle the Parmesan on top.  Press the cheese down lightly to moisten it without making it submerge in the squash mixture.  Bake in a 375º oven for about 35 minutes, until it's golden on top.
Ohhhh yes please.  Notice the fried shallots creepin' in the picture.  I completely forgot to photograph them frying, but it's the same as last time.  Olive oil+heat+shallots= crispy golden goodness.
Yum.  A nice scoop of gratin topped with crispy fried shallots.
You can see the strands of the squash mixed in with the cheese and milky eggness.  I love the little textural contrast the shallots provide, and as far as I'm concerned, sage and squash is like PB&J.  They just go together.  This is the second time I've mentioned peanut butter and jelly this post.  Think I need a sandwich?  No, I need some more gratin, which is in my fridge.
Ohh yeah, I was going to show you how I feed myself like a weirdo.  I try to live by the motto "Waste not, want not," so I took the olive oil I fried the shallots in and brushed it on slices of rosemary sea salt bread.  That's sort of a lie.  I dipped the bread in the olive oil.  It absorbed a bit more oil that way and was totally luscious.  Much more primal than daintily brushing the olive oil.  A minute under the broiler to toast it up and another minute with a slice of pepperoni on top to get the edges crispy? Love it.  Top it with chopped olives and peppadews and you have my new favorite snack.

Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Crispy Shallots (serves 4)
Adapted from The New York Times

1/2 spaghetti squash, cooked (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 tbs olive oil, plus more for shallots
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1/4 c milk
3 tbs chopped fresh sage
1/2 c Swiss cheese, grated
1/8 c grated Parmesan
2 medium shallots, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 375º.  Grease a medium-sized baking dish.  In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.  Season with salt and add the squash.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together.  Add sage and stir.  Slowly add squash and Swiss cheese, plus 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.  Stir to combine all the ingredients then transfer to prepared dish.  Sprinkle Parmesan over the mixture and press down lightly to moisten.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.  While the gratin is in the oven, heat 1/4 cup of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots and fry until golden brown drain on paper towels.  
  • Let rest 10-15 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature and top with crispy shallots.

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