We had a couple of crisp days last week. Well as crisp as the air gets in early October in Southern California, let’s just say I needed a sweater…a light sweater.
Anyway, during those slightly chilly evenings I got the urge for all things rich and creamy and belly warming. I rarely do cream-based things around here due to the fact that I’m the only one who likes it and/or can eat it, but when the urge strikes, I find it’s best to just go with it before it becomes unwieldy and wildly out of control and the next thing you know you’ve eaten a pound of pasta covered in straight cream, parmesan, and butter—not that I’ve ever done that, I’m just saying, it could happen.
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah, right. So I wanted something rich and creamy, but also spicy and soul-satisfying so I turned to my favorite thing about fall, squash, and got to work. Do you have a favorite fall fruit/vegetable? The thing you wait all year for? Mine is absolutely the hard-skinned squashes of fall..all of them.
Baked spaghetti squash is much lighter in texture than other varieties so it was the perfect vehicle for the smoky, spicy chipotle cream sauce. Baked spaghetti squash is super easy to pull off, the hardest part is cutting the darn thing open—a heavy, sharp knife is essential. Then just scoop out the seeds, rub with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and let the oven do the work.
While the squash is baking, sweat some onions and garlic and chopped chipotles en adobo in olive oil until soft and sweet, add the cream and thin a little with veggie broth so the cream isn’t overwhelming. If you don’t mind about keeping it veggie, you could use any kind of broth you want, also a little white wine would be nice here too. Once the sauce has simmered a little bit, you can blend it nice and smooth if you’d like. Leaving it as is, is just fine too.
Shred the squash into thin strands with a fork and gently mix with the sauce. Sprinkle each dish with crunchy toasted breadcrumbs, thin slices of scallion and a crumbling of sharp Cotija or grated Parmesan would be nice here too. Also cilantro, if you’re into to that kind of thing.
There you go. A dinner for when you need a little hug in the form of cream, spice, and cheese.
- 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2-3 pounds
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 4 chipotles en adobo, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
- Heat oven to 400°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle the cut sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
- Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake in oven until knife tender and shreds easily with a fork, about 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chipotles and cook a minute more. Add cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Blend with a stick blender until smooth. Add teaspoon of salt, taste and add more salt if needed. Cover and keep warm.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until toasted and golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- To serve: Shred squash into strands, add to cream sauce and gently fold to coat in sauce. Divide between four plates, top with toasted breadcrumbs, sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and Cotija cheese.
One More Thing
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