Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

My mom watches a lot of TV. When it comes down to it, it's roughly 75% cooking shows, followed by random news and crime stories. I can't say I spend much time watching that glistening screen in my living room, which I can't say is a bad thing, but does not leave me with much time to skim food shows for recipe suggestions and ideas. There's a point to all this, I swear.

My mom and I were chatting one day and she mentioned seeing a spaghetti squash recipe where they made little alfredo pasta bowls out of the squash. She saw in on one of the super-famous shows - I couldn't tell you if it was "The Chew", "The Kitchen" or something else starting with "The" - and said it looked amazing. Using the squash skin as a bowl isn't exactly a new concept, but frankly, I'd never even considered making spaghetti squash alfredo. Marinara is my sauce of preference for the most part, and tomatoes seemed like an appropriate fit for the yellow veggie.


Alfredo sauce isn't new to me, so putting this together seemed like a breeze. The basis is simply flour browned slightly in some butter, milk and cream, and parmesan cheese. Sometimes you make this stuff at home and realize it's complete highway robbery to charge $15 for a dish of just noodles, butter, milk, and cheese. Ah, the beauty of home cooking.

This was a totally unique looking spaghetti squash. I've always seen yellow ones, and this was a really lovely orange. I found one in a good size but not overly large - any larger and I wind up with way too much to eat.


I made the same alfredo I've done before - a little bit of butter and garlic melted in a pan, sprinkle in some flour and cook until it's lightly browned, then add some cream and let it lightly simmer. Stir in the cheese and bam: alfredo.


The spaghetti squash prep process is one I've got down to an art. I make mine by making some cuts in the side - even making a small triangle with a knife for one of the holes to ensure enough steam can escape during baking. I bake it for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees F and the insides are soft enough to remove. Once it cooled down a bit, I sliced the squash in half lengthwise and scooped out the guts.


The seeds came out first, then I scooped the "spaghetti" part into a bowl before mixing in the alfredo.


After mixing the sauce and spaghetti squash together, I spooned it back into the squash skin. It's like a twice baked potato, only completely different.


To complete this meal, I laid some cooked salmon on top. It was a basic salmon, cooked in avocado oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.While not a must, I was in the mood for a lean meat to accompany my veggie and salmon felt like a good fit. Besides, it does look good on there.


Beautiful, right? This was a hell of a dinner. It's common knowledge that cheese makes everything better (unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case I'm sorry. I don't know how you do it). This was no exception.


Because of the cheese level in alfredo, it has a strong flavor. This makes it a good companion for dishes with add-ins like broccoli - the cheesy sauce is the main flavor, but it is still not overpowered with spices. In this case, it provided a nice, light flavor that went well with the spaghetti squash and also with the salmon. I kept the salmon fairly plain, and overall I had a tasty, alfredo-centric dinner. Will make again!


Spaghetti Squash Alfredo Recipe

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

For the alfredo sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup half and half
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

Head oven to 375 F. Cut slices into spaghetti squash to vent, then set on a pan and bake for 45 minutes, then set aside to cool.  Melt butter in the skillet and add garlic.  Whisk in flour and heat to bubbling, cooking until slightly browned while stirring frequently.  Stir in half and half, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Simmer for 3-4 minutes, then stir in cheese. Add water to thin sauce if preferred. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out seeds. Spoon out the cooked squash and add to a bowl. Mix desired amount of alfredo sauce in, then spoon into the spaghetti squash skin. Top with protein, if desired. Set on a pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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