I am not really one who likes to get crazy with my vegetables, especially spaghetti squash. I’ve tried it in place of spaghetti with red sauce and I was underwhelmed. My favorite way to make it is to simply roast it with butter, salt, pepper and a bit of garlic. Occasionally I might mix in some steamed vegetables, but by and large I am a Plain Jane Spaghetti squash girl.
The other day I was watching the Food Network (Surprising, I know.) and on “The Kitchen”, Katie Lee made a spaghetti squash stuffed with chicken and steamed broccoli in a lightened version of Alfredo Sauce. (If you want to look up her recipe it’s called: “Chicken and Broccoli Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash”). It looked really good and since I happened to have a very small squash sitting on my counter, I decided to test my own version.
Let it be said here that I am a full fat, real butter, no fake stuff cook, so I knew immediately that I would not be making a lightened version of Alfredo sauce. I also hate sauces made with any type of cream cheese. No. Instead, I would make my tried and true sauce and perhaps not use a ton of it so as not to over power the delicate squash. I also didn’t like the idea of adding chicken to it. (Of course, that might have been because I knew I had two chicken breasts already pounded into cutlets that I intended to pan fry.)
The first step is to cut the squash in half. I keep seeing people say that it’s so hard to cut a squash and that it’s easier to microwave them first. Nope. I hate the microwave and with a sharp knife, it’s NOT hard to cut a squash. While I am on the subject of cutting squash, let me just say here that it’s NOT hard to work with butternut squash either. Just use a vegetable peeler (the kind you peel carrots with) to remove the skin, then cut it up. It’s simple!
I digress. Cut the squash in half horizontally, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little garlic. I also used some beautiful Bourbon smoked paprika because it’s one of my new favorite spices, but that is optional. Here is what they look like before they get turned upside down to roast.
Preheat the oven to 400, turn them cut side down, and bake them for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure they are fork tender and the strands easily flake out with a fork. Be careful with the shells because they are going to become the vessel for this dish.
While the shells are cooking, cut up a head of broccoli and steam it until it’s bright green and a little tender. It’s okay to under cook it a bit because it’s going to go back into the oven later.
Then make the Alfredo sauce and combine it with the broccoli and spaghetti squash. Stuff all of it right back into the shells.
At this point, I sprinkled mine with some more pepper and paprika. I honestly could have put these right in the oven under the broiler without adding anything else and I think they would have been fantastic. Instead, I added a layer of cheese.
I grated what I had on hand which was Fontina and Parmesan. You can substitute whatever white cheese you have or like. Then they go under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
I don’t really know how anyone eats an entire half of one of these. Honestly. I put mine on the plate thinking it was so small, it would be gone in a flash, but I could only finish half of it. Hubs and I put hot sauce on just about everything, so that is what you see on top of it with some chopped parsley to garnish.
We’re also addicted to those tomatoes which is why you always see them in my photos. Seriously, they are that delicious. They are called “Flavor Bomb Cherry Tomatoes”. We buy them at Sam’s Club, but I’m sure you can google them and find where they are in your area. So good! (and no they didn’t pay me to say this.)
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
- 1 head of broccoli cut up into florets
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 stick of butter (REAL butter!)
- 2 & 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Fontina (Use Mozzarella if you like it better)
- 2 teaspoons smoky paprika (optional)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Granulated garlic
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut the squash in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds. Drizzle the inside with olive oil, salt & pepper, granulated garlic and smoky paprika (optional). Place in a baking dish or on a baking sheet cut side down. Roast for 45 minute to an hour until fork tender.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a bowl and prepare an ice water bath. Blanch the broccoli briefly in the boiling water, then transfer to the ice bath to cool. Drain and set aside.
With a large fork, pull the squash fibers away from the outer peel (use a towel to hold the squash in place if necessary). Reserve the squash and the shells. (Shell will be your cooking vessel.)
Preheat the broiler to low.
Make the Alfredo sauce. (I will look away if you want to use your favorite jarred Alfredo but honestly, it’s so easy and tastes so much better to use your own!) Here is how:
In a saucepan, warm the butter and cream. Add the smashed garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Parmesan and stir until melted. (What the WHAT! That was SO HARD!)
Now toss the broccoli and squash with the sauce. Add in some more pepper. Divide the mixture into the two empty shells and top with grated cheese.
Place the stuffed squash onto a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Keep watch after about 3 minutes. I left mine in about five minutes, but your broiler might be stronger than mine.
See ya tomorrow!