Dinner/Mains

September 30, 2021

Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola

Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola is my new favorite way to enjoy spaghetti squash. Nutty from browned butter and toasted hazelnuts, savory from lots of garlic and crumbled gorgonzola, and flecked with sweetness from diced tomato and wilted spinach - this recipe hits all the right notes of flavor and texture. 

This recipe is inspired by a dish known as “High Pasta” from a local collection of restaurants and breweries in the Pacific Northwest known as McMenamins. I haven’t seen High Pasta on a McMenamins menu in years, but growing up, this was in regular rotation. It was my favorite dish to order any time we visited McMenamins. I always gravitated toward vegetarian dishes when dining out, as far back as I can remember. Dishes like this helped broaden my palate beyond simple spaghetti-with-butter-and-parmesan preferences of childhood. This is not an exact replication of High Pasta, because the original was made with actual pasta, but it’s pretty darn close. 

Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola is the perfect early autumn, meat-free meal. It’s the very end of fresh tomato season, and the start of winter squash season. With additions like browned butter, hazelnuts, and gorgonzola, this recipe feels cozy and comforting, but the spaghetti squash helps keep it light, yet satisfying. I’m not advocating for replacing pasta with spaghetti squash, though - believe me, this recipe is equally as delicious when using real spaghetti pasta, and spaghetti squash is a vegetable, not pasta. Spaghetti squash is a delicious and fun way to incorporate vegetables into your meals, and diversity of vegetables and fruits is a solid way to promote healthful eating.

Ingredients assembled for Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola
Assemble your ingredients.

Stages of cutting, roasting, and preparing spaghetti squash for filling
See recipe notes for tips on how to cut a spaghetti squash. After the squash is roasted, use a form to loosen the strands from the sides.

Chopped hazelnuts toasting in a skillet
While the squash is roasting, chop and toast the hazelnuts.

Brown the butter, then add the garlic off the heat, followed by the spinach.
Brown the butter, then add the garlic off the heat, followed by the spinach.

Step-by-step series of filling the roasted spaghetti squash halves
To each roasted spaghetti squash half, add the browned butter-garlic-wilted spinach mixture, followed by diced tomato, then toasted hazelnuts, and finally topped with crumbled gorgonzola.

Finished Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola on a parchment-lined baking sheet
Return the filled squash halves to the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola scooped out and served on a plate
Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Nutty Spaghetti Squash with Gorgonzola

Nutty from browned butter and toasted hazelnuts, savory from lots of garlic and crumbled gorgonzola, and flecked with sweetness from diced tomato and wilted spinach - this recipe hits all the right notes of flavor and texture.

Author:

Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful

Prep:

10

min

cook:

55

min

total:

65

min

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

4 oz. baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and set aside. 
  2. Using a large, sharp knife, carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half to form two “boats” (see Notes for tips). Remove the seeds. Divide the olive oil between the two halves and brush the oil evenly over both halves. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of the kosher salt and the 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper evenly over each half. Place the spaghetti squash halves cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roasted in the 400 degree F oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a fork is easily inserted in the squash. 
  3. While the squash is roasting, prepare the toppings. Start by toasting the chopped hazelnuts in a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently, to avoid burning the nuts. Once the hazelnuts are fragrant and just starting to brown, remove them from the heat and transfer them to a small bowl. Wipe out the skillet so no bits of nuts remain, and return it to the stove.
  4. In the small frying pan over medium heat, brown the stick of butter. Allow the butter to melt in the pan, undisturbed. As the butter melts and heats, it will foam up and make a popping sound. Allow this process to continue and do not stir the pan until the foaming subsides and the popping nearly stops (this will take a few minutes). By this point, you should have beautifully browned bits in the bottom of the pan, and you should be able to smell the nutty flavor of the browned butter. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Off the heat, add the minced garlic to the browned butter, and stir quickly to incorporate the garlic into the butter. 
  6. Add the baby spinach leaves to the browned butter and garlic, and stir to combine. The spinach should begin to wilt from the heat of the butter. Once the spinach is mostly wilted, add the remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. 
  7. Once the spaghetti squash halves are tender, remove them from the oven and flip them up to form “boats.” Using a fork, gently scrape the spaghetti squash strands from the sides into the center. 
  8. Divide the browned butter-garlic-spinach mixture between the two halves of the squash. Gently stir the mixture into the loosened squash strands to evenly distribute it. 
  9. Top each spaghetti squash half with a diced Roma tomato, followed by the toasted hazelnuts, and lastly the crumbled gorgonzola. 
  10. Return the filled spaghetti squash halves to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. 
  11. After the gorgonzola cheese has melted, remove from the oven, serve, and enjoy!


Notes: 

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May 24, 2022
Elizabeth
I don't normally comment on recipes but this has got to be the best thing I've ever made. It came together pretty easy and made five meals - perfect for meal prep for the week. I already can't wait to make it again.
January 22, 2022
Sherry Ruiter
I love this section!!!!!