Taste: Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream

Today the holiday switch was flicked to launch the planning of all the things. First order of business is Thanksgiving, and my all time favorite, crowd pleasing dish – Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream. This is the dish I make every year—double, triple batch—and it’s the one that gets the most recipe share requests. It’s creamy, spicy, cheesy and full of flavor. Layer it up with whatever cheeses you like, pack in as much jalapeno heat as you can take, and have yourself a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeño Cream (adapted from Sunset Magazine) 

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 lbs.)
2 cups milk
6 jalapeños – 2 to 4 stemmed, seeded, and chopped for the cream, use the remaining for garnish
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for pans
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese: jack, gruyere, cheddar – whatever you like


Preparation 

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Put squash, cut side down, on a lightly buttered baking sheet and bake until fork tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Or poke several holes in skin of squash with a fork and microwave it on high 10 minutes. Let sit until cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm milk and jalapeños until bubbles form along the edge of the pan. Remove mixture from heat and let sit 30 minutes, or longer. Strain and discard jalapeños.

3. Once the squash is cooled, use a large spoon to scrape the strands out of the skin and into a large bowl.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tbsp. butter. Whisk in flour and salt and cook, whisking, until flour smells cooked (like piecrust), about 3 minutes. Slowly pour in jalapeño-infused milk while whisking. Reduce heat to medium and continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture over squash and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a buttered 2-qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and garnish/decorate using remaining jalapeños (flowers, snowflakes, trees, stars – whatever!). Bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 30 minutes.

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