Spaghetti Squash Alfredo with Parsley, Basil, and Cherry Tomatoes
I just find spaghetti squash to be so much fun. It's pretty much one of those confetti party poppers but in the form of a vegetable. You crack one of these guys open and out comes a bowl full of "pasta". And like real pasta, it's versatile and can go in a million directions. Me and Aaron made this recipe super fast and the base of the entire meal was one fairly small spaghetti squash. But even though spaghetti squash was the main ingredient, I'd say the true focus of the meal was the amazing alfredo sauce. This definitely is a lighter take on a very indulgent classic. The traditional pasta alfredo that you'd get at a restaurant seems to always leave you needing a nap and/or a blood transfusion. For real...this recipe comes close to matching it's decadent ancestor, minus the guilt, the fat, and the food coma. We absolutely loved it...and I wouldn't share this recipe if this was not the case.
Ok, here's what you'll need:
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
dash of salt
a few dashes of pepper
a dash or two of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons low fat cream cheese
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan (and some to sprinkle on top)
1½ cups of milk of your choice (we used plain almond milk)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Fresh basil leaves
Grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in 1/2
This simple, laid back looking piece of produce has got a party raging inside of it.
Let's get started!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a large sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up on a lightly oiled baking sheet. (though we have previously cooked our's face down as well.) Mist or brush your squash lightly with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some garlic. Bake until tender, about 50-55 mins.
Once cooked, use a fork to gently scrape the “spaghetti” strands ...Use fork to fluff and separate
Now, for your sauce, In a medium sized pan, heat your remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Now, add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, cook till fragrant, about one minute. Now, add your cream cheese, stir as it melts, then, whisk in your milk, Cook for about a minute while stirring. Now, add your nutmeg, and parsley and give it a few good stirs. Lower heat to a simmer, and stir in your parmesan cheese. Continue to stir till melted and smooth. Remove from heat and toss with your "spaghetti".
Plate your spaghetti, top with halved tomatoes, fresh basil, parsley, some more grated cheese, and a dash of pepper!
I'm fairly certain that you will be surprised by this one. It's rich and creamy and bright and fresh at the same time. The sweet buttery taste of the squash pairs perfectly with the alfredo sauce. And if I had to name one of the bigger differences between spaghetti squash and actual spaghetti...I'd say texture. It's got a bit of a crisp to it...though not really crisp...maybe I'd say firm...and in a good way. But the creamy sauce lends itself well to this texture.
Again, one small squash fed the two of us and we were pretty darn full afterward. Let me know if you give this recipe a try...I'd love to hear your thoughts!
xo, Jenny ...and Aaron