When I first moved to the US, people used to talk about this mythical vegetable called spaghetti squash that actually could be used as a substitute for pasta when you were dieting. This instantly... made me skeptical and, frankly, I avoided even tasting this weirdly wonderful member of the squash family until very recently. I am now a convert, not because it’s a good substitute for pasta — it isn’t — but it is a vegetable with an amazing texture that lends itself to making some delicious dishes. This Spaghetti Squash au Gratin dish is very simple, and the perfect way to introduce this great veggie to the uninitiated.
Halve and deseed the squash. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and lay a couple of bay leaves on each half. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until soft.
Shred the squash into strings, place in a large bowl, and toss together with the warm tomato sauce.
Pile into a gratin dish, cover with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are browned into a crust, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Larger spaghetti squash are the best tasting, and the strands are longer too. After baking and pulling the strands apart, the squash can be stored in the fridge or frozen. Defrost the squash in the fridge before cooking to keep the strands intact.