I have always loved squash. I like to think it’s because I am an Autumn baby and that is the food that was in season when I was born but it probably has more to do with the fact that squash is yummy, healthy, and so versatile in all its forms. Spaghetti squash is one of my favorites and I love how simple it is to prepare. In this delicious casserole recipe, from KalynsKitchen, the squash takes the place of a traditional pasta, making it light but filling at the same time.
(image and recipe from KalynsKitchen)
1 large spaghetti squash, about 4 pounds
2 tsp. olive oil (for brushing squash)
2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend (for sprinkling on squash before roasting)
2 tsp. olive oil
5 links (19.5 oz.) hot turkey Italian Sausage
3 cups marinara sauce (Use a 24 oz. jar or homemade marinara sauce; look for the sauce with the least sugar if you use sauce from a jar.)
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
1 tsp. garlic powder (or use minced fresh garlic if you prefer)
2 cups cottage cheese (regular or low-fat)
1 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
2 cups grated Mozzarella (regular or low-fat)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (plus more to add at the table if desired.)
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. If desired, microwave the spaghetti squash for about 5 minutes (to soften the skin so it’s easier to cut.) Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the inside of each half with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian Herb Blend. Roast the squash on a flat baking sheet about 50-60 minutes, or until the squash strings apart easily with a fork. (You can also cook the spaghetti squash in a crockpot or cook the spaghetti squash in a pressure cooker for this recipe.)
While the squash cooks, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan, squeeze the turkey sausage out of the casings, and brown sausage well, breaking it apart with a turner while it cooks. (I like to use an old-fashioned Potato Masher to break the sausage apart.) When the sausage is well-browned, add the 3 cups of sauce, dried basil, Italian Herb Blend, and garlic powder, and simmer on low until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
Put the cottage cheese into a bowl, add the eggs and Italian Herb Blend, and mix with a fork until the egg is well-mixed into the cottage cheese. Prepare grated Mozzarella and coarsely grated Parmesan. Spray an 8 inch by 11 inch casserole dish with non-stick spray. (You can also use my favorite square glass casserole dish, but for this recipe I liked the rectangular dish a little better.)
When the spaghetti squash is done, turn oven heat down to 375F/190C and let squash cool for a few minutes. Then use a fork to scrape the squash away from the skin, separating it into strands of “spaghetti.” Discard the skin.
In the casserole dish, layer half the spaghetti squash, half the reduced sauce mixture, half the cottage cheese mixture, half the Mozzarella, and half the Parmesan. Repeat with another layer each of squash, sauce, cottage cheese mixture, Mozzarella, and Parmesan.
Bake uncovered until the casserole is bubbling hot and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 40-45 minutes. Serve hot, with additional Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.