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December 10, 2010

Spaghetti squash and chanterelle gratin

If this isn’t a late fall/early winter dish, I’m not sure what it is. It’s so sweet and earthy and creamy and delicious, you won’t believe it. Even just the smell of the mushrooms cooking in the pan is worth the effort.

I’m embarking on a new project to actually make recipes. You know, like things that people who know what they’re doing have tested and transcribed and printed. As opposed to what I normally make, which is whatever random things I throw together in a semi-organized fashion. I’m kind of in a cooking rut, you see. And the hubs is rather tired of quinoa and roasted beets. Admittedly, so am I.

(Found a guy at the wednesday SM market with chanterelles for $10/lb. Which means I must visit him every week.)

I adapted this recipe a bit (so much for following instructions!) to make it more of a main course, but I’m sure it would be delicious the original way too. Especially if you plan to serve it as a side.

(Day old, out of the fridge… but you get the idea).

Spaghetti squash and chanterelle gratin
(from Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison)

1 large spaghetti squash
1 pound chanterelles (or more if you’re a mushroom lover!)
5 T unsalted butter
fresh thyme and parsley, chopped
1-2 bunches greens, washed, deribbed, and roughly chopped (beet, kale, or collards)
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup half-half or cream (or a mix of milk and cream, which is what I did)
freshly grated parmesan cheese

So I added the greens and the herbs. If you want to stick the original recipe, just leave those out. And a note on spaghetti squash. Turns out I’ve been making it wrong for approximately 15 years. I always bake it cut side down in a pan with water. Which makes the squash taste kind of watery and meh. BUT, this time I followed Deborah’s instructions and it was like a revelation. So sweet and rich and delicious! I had no idea!

Lightly butter a shallow baking dish and preheat oven to 375ºF. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise and put if face down in the buttered dish. Poke a few holes in the tops. Pop the dish into the over and bake until it’s browned all over and soft inside, about 1 1/2 hours. Mine looked like I’d ruined it, the skin was so brown and hard. But when I scooped out the threads of squash, it was perfect and utterly delicious on it’s own.

While the squash is baking, clean the chanterelles (avoid full on washing if possible). Slice them into small-ish pieces. Melt half the butter in a skillet. (If you happen to have a copper core skillet, this would be the time to use it!) When foamy, add the chanterelles and cook over medium heat until tender. About 10 minutes. Add the herbs, 2 cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the cream/milk and gently simmer until the liquid has been reduced by 1/3. (5-10 minutes).

In a separate pan, saute the greens in olive oil and one clove of garlic until just wilted.

When the squash is done, scoop out the flesh with a fork, heaping it into spaghetti like strands. Toss with remaining butter and a bit of salt and pepper. Spread the squash in a second buttered baking or gratin dish, layer the greens on, followed by the chanterelles and juices. Cover with parmesan and return the gratin to the oven until heated through and the top is crisp and lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

As I said, we had this as a main with a spicy salad of mixed winter lettuces and radish. But I’m sure you could serve it alongside a meat or something? That’s out of my area of expertise, obvs.

(Side note- it turns out the Debs recommends baking the squash whole and then cutting it when it’s cooked, scooping out the seeds and then pulling away the flesh with a fork. My method worked great, but hers might be even better.)


  1. Olivia said on December 10, 2010

    how do you always do it?!??! two of my favorite veggies of all time. i am making this asap.

  2. Gretal said on December 10, 2010

    I have been waiting eagerly for another one of your recipes! I’m informed and inspired, once again!

  3. Cake Is Sweet said on December 13, 2010

    Love it! I have a spaghetti squash that will be transformed into your amazing dish. our farmers mkt. doesn’t have chanterelles– but I’ll try shiitake and see how it goes ;)

  4. Megan Champion said on December 13, 2010

    Looks delish!!! even if it is a day old ;-)

  5. Natalie said on December 15, 2010

    This looks very tasty – thanks for sharing! I might just have to go out and grab a spaghetti squash for dinner tonight!

  6. Michele said on January 3, 2011

    Thank you for the recipe! We made this for our New Year’s Eve dinner and it was soooo delicious. We cooked the squash whole and it didn’t end up very spaghetti-like, however the taste wasn’t compromised a bit. Next time we’ll try baking it cut in half like you did to see if it makes a difference. Happy New Year!

  7. Michele said on January 3, 2011

    Oh p.s. – Thanks for the tip on the $10/lb chanterelles at the SM farmer’s market!

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