Skill It

This fall, my CSA box held a spaghetti squash. I was simultaneously delighted and intimidated. I've never quite known how to best use these clever gourds, but I do love the flavor and texture they bring to dishes. So I decided to use it in a way that was less scary — in a skillet casserole:

The spaghetti squash in this dish stands in for pasta or rice. It is the foundation of it all. Then a mix of other flavor elements like onion, garlic, sausage, and kale come into play. Finally, a sprinkling of nuts and cheese round everything out and make this a really fantastic one-dish meal. If you roast your squash in advance (you can do so up to a day earlier), you can actually put this dish together in less than half an hour. Like I said, clever!

For me, I like having a glass of apple cider with a dish like this. If it's really chilly out, I might warm it. Otherwise, this dish has it all. In fact, I keep the simplicity going after dinner by having some sliced seasonal fruit (think pears and apples) sprinkled with a little cinnamon and honey. It's a great midweek meal, especially if you pre-roast the squash. Enjoy!

Spaghetti Squash Skillet

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash or 2 small spaghetti squash
  • 3 T. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 c. baby kale
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T. chopped walnuts
  • 2 T. grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halves, with the cut side down, on a baking sheet covered with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Roast the squash in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until you can poke the squash easily with a fork. Let it cool until you can handle it safely.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the sausage and break apart with a spatula to crumble. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sausage is browned and cooked through. Add the kale and stir. Cook for a few minutes more to wilt the kale. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside.

Once cooled, scrape the insides of the spaghetti squash with a fork to shred the squash into strands. Transfer the strands into the skillet with the sausage and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and grated cheese and serve immediately.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour