Spaghetti Squash with Creamed Spinach and Pancetta pairs mildly sweet squash with a creamed spinach filling. This dish is light, satisfying, and comforting all in one bite.
Why you will love this
- Spaghetti squash is a mild flavored squash. When baked, the flesh flakes apart into spaghetti-like strands.
- Cream cheese, Fontina cheese, and half-and-half provide the creamy base for the spinach filling.
- Pancetta provides a meaty and salty bite. Bacon can also be used.
How to cut and prepare spaghetti squash?
Spaghetti squash should be cut in half, lengthwise. Use a strong, sharp knife, such as a chefs knife.
- Insert the point of the knife into the middle of the flesh and cut downwards towards the base of the squash.
- Rotate the squash and repeat this to cut the other half, cutting towards the stem of the squash. You will now have two halves.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard. (Image 1)
- Drizzle the flesh of the squash with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. (Image 2)
- Turn the squash flesh-side (cut-side) down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Image 3)
- Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees until tender. The flesh should separate into spaghetti-like strands when scraped with a fork. (Image 4)
- Prepare and bake the squash as outlined above.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook the pancetta until browned and crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain the excess fat, leaving 1-2 teaspoons.
- Add the sliced shallots to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the cream cheese and half-and-half, stirring until the cream cheese is melted.
- Add the shredded cheese (reserving some for the top) and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the spinach.
- When the squash is done roasting, scrape the flesh with a fork to loosen. Add the squash to the spinach mixture. Add back the pancetta, reserving some for the top.
- Spoon the mixture back into the squash boats and top with the reserved cheese. Broil for a few minutes until brown and bubbly. Garnish with remaining pancetta. Serve.
Serving, storing, and reheating
This recipe serves two as a main dish or four as a side dish. You can easily double (or triple) it for larger groups. For a vegetarian option, simply omit the pancetta.
To store, cool completely and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave.
Spaghetti squash pairs well with beef, pork, chicken, or fish. This dish is light enough to enjoy during warm weather but it also has a comfort food vibe perfect for cooler days.
Since the flesh of spaghetti squash separates into strands resembling spaghetti, it is often used as a low-carb, low-calorie alternative to pasta. It's mild flavor serves as a good base for various types of pasta sauces.
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Spaghetti Squash with Creamed Spinach and Pancetta
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoons oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces pancetta (diced)
- 1 shallot (diced)
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ½ cup shredded Fontina cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise. (Note 1) With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Drizzle the oil over the cut side of the squash and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the squash cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until tender and the squash separates into strands when scraped with a fork. Loosen all of the flesh with a fork and set aside.
- Meanwhile, set a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until browned and crisp, about 5-6 minutes. Drain the pancetta on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove the excess fat from the skillet, leaving about 2 teaspoons in the pan.
- Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the shallot and cook until softened, approx. 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and half-and-half and stir until cream cheese is melted. Stir in the shredded Fontina (reserving some for the top) and stir to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper (approx. ⅛ teaspoon each).
- Add the spinach, folding into the sauce as the spinach wilts. Add the spaghetti squash strands and fold the mixture together. Stir in the pancetta, reserving some for topping. Spoon the mixture into the squash shells. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Place the baking sheet bake in the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Top with remaining pancetta. Serve.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the squash. Insert the point of the knife into the middle of the flesh and cut downwards towards the base of the squash. Rotate the squash and repeat this to cut the other half, cutting towards the stem of the squash. You will now have two halves.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.