Me, of course!
Well, probably me and the entire population of Arizona. Temperatures are finally warming up again after last week's record-breaking five day cold rush, but it's a full 40 degrees higher today in Flagstaff than it was just a week ago.
Ah, the bliss.
Ok, so it's not blissful enough to walk outside without a jacket on. But there is certainly a silver lining to that situation (side note: Silver Linings Playbook is so the best movie I have seen the past 3 months. Must. Obsess.). What silver lining, you ask? Well...
I get to make tons and tons of baked things.
Baked pasta, cheesecake, warm and indulgent pot roasts.... Yep, the cold weather certainly gives me a good excuse to keep shoving warm recipes down your (hopefully willing) throats!
Today's dish, which is perfect for Meatless Mondays by the way, is a delectable combination of sweet, nutty spaghetti squash and hearty tomatoes, topped with a creamy and slightly salty ricotta-parmesan topping. Woven with bold and sensual Italian spices, sprinkled with spicy red pepper flakes... Yum! And who doesn't love those cheesy crusts on top of baked gratins' warming and satisfying contents? These gratins are sure to please even the picky eaters, and you can rest assured knowing that you are nourishing your body at the same time!
(If you find spaghetti squash intimidating, or have never heard of it before, check out this post on Spaghetti Squash and how incredible it is! It is one of my favorite squashes, and works wonderfully in this dish.)
Ricotta, Tomato, and Spaghetti Squash Gratins
Adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 4 Serving Size: 1 gratin Calories/Serving: 245
- 4c. cooked spaghetti squash
- 1/2tsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1/2tsp salt, divided
- 1/2tsp black pepper, divided
- 1/4tsp ground red pepper
- 2 (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes, drained very very well and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1tbl balsamic vinegar
- 2tsp Italian seasoning, divided
- 1 (15-oz) carton low fat ricotta cheese
- 1/4c. (1 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flakes (optional, but oh so good)
- In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add in 1/4tsp salt, 1/4tsp black pepper, red pepper, tomatoes, vinegar, and 1tsp Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce the heat to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off of heat. Drain out half of the liquid. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 of the sauce and the spaghetti squash. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper, along with the ricotta and Parmesan. Mix well.
- To make gratins, place 1c. of the squash-tomato mixture into each of 4 medium (12-oz) ramekins. Top each with the remaining tomato sauce. Divide the ricotta mixture evenly among the tops of each ramekin, spreading the cheese to the edges. Bake for 50 minutes, until brown and bubbling. Serve with red pepper flakes, if desired.