It may have something to do with the fact that it's combined with some of our favorite things like a red sauce laced with roasted garlic, fennel-studded Italian sausage, and melty, bubbly cheese. I mean, those things can't hurt. I am not going to claim that your kids will mistake it for spaghetti, however, if they are a fan of it, they just might give this semi-look-alike a chance. Mine happened to devour it. Which is a good thing, but that means that I had no leftovers for lunch the next day.
Baked Spaghetti Squash w/ Sweet Italian Sausage
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Keywords: bake entree nut-free squash sausage Spaghetti Squash American fall winter
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 medium-large spaghetti squash
- ½ lb. sweet Italian Sausage
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp. fennel seeds
- ¼ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 1 egg
- 2 c. red sauce (homemade or storebought)
- 1 c. ricotta cheese
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray 4 (10 oz.) ramekins with cooking spray; set on a baking sheet.
Using a thin-bladed, sharp knife, poke the spaghetti squash about ten times. Microwave for 10-12 minutes, turning over a couple of times throughout the process. It is done when the skin looks loose and wrinkly. Remove from microwave and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the seeds with a large spoon.
While the squash is cooking, add sausage to a skillet over meat heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and cooked through. Add onion and garlic to pan and saute until onions are soft and translucent, ~3 more minutes. Add fennel seeds and crushed red chile and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to one minute, or until fragrant.
Using a fork, scrape your spaghetti squash into strands. You should be left with just the skin. Transfer the strands to a colander set over the sink and allow the moisture to drain off while you move on to the next step.
Combine sauce, ricotta, egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella, and Italian seasoning in a large bowl. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Fold in the spaghetti squash until evenly distributed.
Place approximately an eighth of the squash mixture into the bottom of each prepared ramekin. Divide the sausage mixture evenly over that layer. Spoon the remaining squash mixture as evenly as possible to form a top layer in each ramekin. Grate a little bit of fresh Parmesan cheese over each ramekin and then divide remaining mozzarella over the tops.
Slide the baking sheet with the full ramekins on it into the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving (it will be extremely hot on the inside).
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