Everywhere you look this time of year it is pumpkin this, pumpkin that, throw in a few giant handfuls of butternut squash (my all time favorite) and a handful of acorn too, but spaghetti?
I only see it every so often and I just do not know why.
Granted, I am a total butternut squash freak. Acorn comes close behind and then pumpkin, but spaghetti squash is still awesome, and it totally lets you get away with eating melty cheese and not feeling an ounce of guilt.
I am not one to replace a carb with a veggie, but for these lasagnas it works.
They are pretty easy and a good lighter option when you still want something cozy, but just not so heavy. Typically, I just do spaghetti squash as a side with some butter. I know it sounds so simple, but it is probably my family’s favorite way to eat it. It just lets the flavors of the squash shine.
But, I have been wanting to make a lasagna for weeks now and finally one day I just thought, “let’s make spaghetti squash lasagna boats”! I think I just really liked the name.
Or the idea of spaghetti squash boats.
The picture in my head just looked so cute. So I went with it.
I gotta say, I was pretty nervous.
But oh my gosh, they could not have turned out better. So stinkin good.
Whenever I make lasagna I pretty much always swap the beef for spicy italian sausage. For these I used chicken sausage to try to keep things on the lighter side…..
But then I went and added Béchamel sauce. Creamy, cheesy béchamel sauce. Really, you can’t do a good lasagna without a good béchamel. It just sinks into the noodles and magic happens.
Hey, at least I tried to keep it on the lighter side. It is the thought that counts right?
These are the perfect thing for guests too!
Individual boats make it so fun and so cute. People will be impressed. Trust me!! Just serve it with a side of bread, some wine and a good dessert and you are golden.
Oh, and you can totally assemble them ahead of time and then just bake them before dinner. So awesome.
4-6 small spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head garlic
1 pounds spicy italian chicken sausage (or 1 pound ground chicken or half ground chicken half sausage)
4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 a sweet onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon fresh sage (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh basil ( 2 teaspoons dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
fried sage or fresh basil, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off from the bulb of garlic. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top the garlic cloves and cover with foil. Roast in a baking dish for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and soft. Allow to cool and then squeeze garlic out of the paper skin into a small bowl and mash well with a fork, set aside.
At the same time roast the squash. Slice the squash lengthwise and rub a drizzle of oil all over the cut side of both squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the squash is just tender enough to scrape into strands. You want it to be barely tender, it will continue cooking later. Remove from the oven and scrape the squash into strands.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F.
While the squash bakes make the sauce. In a large skillet, cook 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bay leaf, thyme and sage and cook, stirring until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Push to the veggies to the side of the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the center of the pan and crumble in the chicken sausage and cook without stirring for 3 minutes. Break up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until well browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, basil and 1 cup water to the skillet. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Once the sauce has thicken a bit, discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the mashed garlic.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a steady stream and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking throughout. Remove from the heat, stir in all of the provolone and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
To assemble the boats, remove a little of the squash strands from each boat. Then place a layer of the meat sauce on top of the remaining strands, then a layer of the cheese sauce, then layer the removed squash strands on top of the cheese and divide the remaining meat sauce among the boats. Lastly, top with the remaining cheese sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes at 350, or until the squash are warm throughout and the cheese is browning. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh sage, fried sage or basil. EAT!
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