Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Gluten-free, individually portioned, and so very good.
Spaghetti squash is what people used to eat as a vegetable alternative to pasta before zoodles became so popular. When made as a lasagne, spaghetti squash becomes more tender and supple, turning a traditionally heavy and sometimes sloppy dish into something lighter and easier to serve. This is such a hit with vegetarians, but meat eaters can have their sausage and enjoy it, too! Don't want to make it in the squash shell? No problem, this recipe could be assembled just as easily in a casserole.
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; spoon; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; strainer or colander; box grater; large mixing bowl; fork; rubber spatula; rimmed sheet pan; parchment paper or aluminum foil
3 spaghetti squash
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or jarred) 2 cups fresh ricotta cheese, drained of exess water 1 cup grated parmesan, divided
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
6 basil leaves, chiffonade, plus extra for garnish (optional)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ pound cooked sweet or hot Italian sausage, crumbled
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and position the oven rack in the middle. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Set aside. 2. First prepare the cheese filling. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, ¾ cup parmesan, the optional chopped parsley and basil chiffonade, a generous pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside. 3. Slice 8 slices of cheese from the fresh mozzarella and set aside. Grate the remaining mozzarella using a box grater and set aside.
4. Carefully slice in half both spaghetti squash. Using a spoon, scoop and discard the seeds and stringy flesh attached to the seeds. Lightly drizzle the (4) squash halves with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place flesh-side down on the sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before handling, at least 15 minutes.
ILOC tip: roast the spaghetti squash hours or even days in advance before assembling the lasagne boats. The roasted spaghetti squash can be stored in the refrigerator if necessary.
5. Once cool enough to handle, carefully scoop the flesh of the squash from the skin using a spoon. Place approximately 2/3 of the flesh in a large mixing bowl (reserve and store refrigerated in an airtight container the remaining squash for later use). Return the hollowed out squash boats to the lined sheet pan or to a large baking dish. Spoon 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce in each squash boat. Set aside.
ILOC tip: if you have extra sauce and cheese, prepare a small "spaghetti squash parmesan" to pop in the freezer for a later date!
6. Pour 1 cup of sauce into the bowl with the squash flesh and mix well to combine, using a fork if necessary. Place enough sauced squash in each boat to fill by one third.
7. Place two slices of mozzarella on top of the squash in each boat, then spread ¼ of the ricotta mixture over the mozzarella slices. If using sausage, add some crumbled sausage to the top of the ricotta cheese mixture.
8. Pour the remaining sauce over the ricotta mixture or sausage, then top each lasagna boat with more sauced spaghetti squash.
9. Divide and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella (shredded) on top of each lasagne boat, and then sprinkle each with the remaining parmesan (¼ cup total, which is 1 tablespoon per boat).
ILOC tip: the lasagne boats can be fully assembled to be baked at a later time. Refrigerate, covered, for up to three days. Alternatively, store the assembled lasagne boats in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months (bake directly from the freezer, covered loosely in foil for 45 minutes, then remove the foil to bake for 15 more minutes uncovered).
10. Bake, uncovered with foil, for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned lightly. Serve immediately with fresh basil leaves.
Makes 4 servings.