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We’ve been trying to go low-carb around here for a while. It doesn’t always go as planned (I have a wonderful waffle post coming up soon!) but we’re trying. So in lieu of actual starches we’ve been having spaghetti squash. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Spaghetti squash is nothing like real spaghetti pasta. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just different, and since it’s different I don’t like to use it like spaghetti. It’s a great vegetable, but it’s not pasta.

ImageBecause I don’t use it like pasta, I needed a new and interesting way to serve it. I even considered trying to adapt the new and hot food item out of NYC, the ramen burger to make a spaghetti squash burger. But then, thankfully, I came to my senses.

Upon further research (staring blankly into my fridge), I found I had an extra bulb of fennel after I made this cauliflower-crust pizza. Then it dawned on me. Fennel + spaghetti squash + parmesan cheese = delicious. It turns out I was right. It was really good and creamy. I didn’t even miss the starch!

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Fennel and Spaghetti Squash Gratin

  • 1 spaghetti squash, baked
  • 1 bulb fennel, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 Tble butter
  • 1 Tble fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tble greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated and divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚. Remove seeds from spaghetti squash and shred flesh to resemble spaghetti.  Place spaghetti squash strands in a large bowl. Discard shell. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter and cook fennel until it has softened and has browned slightly, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cook another minute. Scrape shallots and garlic into bowl with squash.  Add thyme, heavy cream,  yogurt or sour cream, and half of the Parmigianno-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper. Toss all ingredients to combine. Pour into a buttered 8×8 casserole dish and top with remaining Parmigianno-Reggiano. Bake on middle rack in oven for 30 minutes until it is hot and bubbly on top.

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Notes:

  • If you don’t know how to prepare a spaghetti squash, start here.
  • I served my gratin with a wonderful spicy honey chicken. I highly recommend it. Here’s the recipe.
  • This is the one exception when it comes to my “spaghetti squash is not pasta” rule. It’s better with pasta, but spaghetti squash will do. Just substitute 2 medium sized spaghetti squashes for the pound of pasta.
  • Bacon would take this dish from pretty good to great. Simply fry a 3 or 4 pieces of bacon in a skillet. Remove from skillet and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Skip the butter and sauté fennel and garlic in 1 tablespoon bacon grease. Crumble bacon in with the other ingredients in the bowl. Proceed with recipe as usual.
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