Harvest squash casserole marries the flavors and textures of fall into a beautiful, delicious side dish.
In 1991, just a few years after we were married, we stopped by the local grocery store for a couple of things. In the front of the store was a large display of Robert Mondavi wine. (This post was originally published on November 9th, 2011. I have updated it and added Amazon affiliate links.)
I picked up a bottle of Chardonnay, and hanging from the neck of the bottle was an entry form for the “Robert Mondavi Great Italian Recipe Contest”. The first place prize was a trip to Italy, so on a lark I decided to enter the contest. I’d have to work quickly, the deadline for the contest was less than 10 days away.
With less than a week to go before the deadline, and no “World Wide Web” at the time, I’d have to rely on snail mail. I’m not sure what compelled me to pick up a spaghetti squash, since I’d never actually cooked one before. I threw together a dish, which Spencer thought tasted delicious.
It was the fall and I was having harvest-y thoughts, so I named it, “Harvest Squash” and popped the recipe in the mail.
I ended up making it for Thanksgiving that year, and then pretty much forgot about the contest. In March of the next year, a letter came from Mondavi, telling me that I was one of five contestants who placed second in the contest. I would be receiving a check for $1,000. To a young married couple living in a 700 square foot apartment, this was a windfall!
I knew exactly what I wanted to do with a small portion of the prize money. I wanted one of those new-fangled cordless telephones so I could talk on the phone and cook at the same time, without being tethered to the wall!
How to cook Spaghetti Squash
You can cook spaghetti squash a couple of ways. I find that it’s pretty difficult to cut the spaghetti squash, so baking it first makes it easier to cut. If you choose this method, bake it at 350 degrees F. for about an hour to an hour and 10 minutes. You can tell that it’s done when it’s easily pierced with a knife. Use oven mitts or let it cool until it’s easily handled, then cut either horizontally or vertically, and carefully scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. I like to use kitchen shears to cut out the inner circle of seeds and stringy bits.
You can also cut it first and then bake it on a baking sheet for about 40-45 minutes, I usually ask for help when I chose this method. Cutting it from “pole to pole” will produce shorter, bite-sized strands. Cutting it on the “equator” produces longer “spaghetti” like strands.
If you’re short on time, you can cut the squash pole to pole, and steam the halves in a pyrex dish with a little water, in the microwave the halves for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. You can remove the seeds before or after cooking.
This harvest squash casserole is also gluten free, low-carb, and keto friendly.
Some of the items used in this post are available at my Amazon store.
- 1 spaghetti squash, cooked (see above for cooking options)
- 3 large zucchini finely shredded, about 4 cups
- 3 large carrots finely shredded, about 3 cups
- 8 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 bunch fresh thyme chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parmesan or pecorino romano cheese grated
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
Cut spaghetti squash in 1" slices and place on a baking sheet, or cook whole by placing in a baking dish and cover with foil, cook for about an 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 at 350*F. Microwave: Cover halves with paper towel and place in a dish in an inch or so of water and cook on high for about 10 minutes. Flesh should easily fall away from sides in strands. Seeds can be scraped out before of after cooking.
Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet on medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute briefly.
Add shredded zucchini and carrots and saute a couple more minutes.
Next, add fresh herbs, salt and pepper, and saute another minute.
Toss cooked spaghetti squash with zucchini and carrots in a separate bowl or serving dish with cheese. Check seasoning.
Serves 12 as a side dish. It can be made a day ahead and reheated.