Here we are on #5 of the CEBH Cashew Cream Recipe Series…time flies when you’re having fun! And I am having so much fun coming up with new and interesting ways to use my new culinary secret weapon – cashew cream! Today I’m sharing a recipe that is simple and rustic, yet so incredibly flavorful, and still special enough to serve to guests.
I may as well start with a confession – I’m in love with spaghetti squash! I discovered this amazing vegetable about 30 years ago when my son was a toddler – a typical kid who preferred not to eat vegetables, and then only if they were drowning in cheese sauce! 😕 But the day I brought home a spaghetti squash was a turning point. And boy oh boy – did we ever eat a lot of it the first few months after I discovered he liked it! Of course, he ate his fair share of cheese-sauce drenched spaghetti squash, but he also ate it with marinara sauce and even just with butter, garlic, salt, and pepper! I think part of the appeal was that I’d let him help “turn it into noodles”! Kids love to help in the kitchen, and even at 3 1/2 years old he could easily help shred the squash once it was cool enough to handle!
The sauce is what makes this dish so rich and delicious! It’s loaded with garlic and mushrooms, plenty of salt and pepper, seasoned to perfection with a generous amount of thyme, and of course, finished with delectable cashew cream to give it the creaminess you might expect from a decadent cream and butter laden Béchamel sauce. When I say it’s loaded with garlic I mean it’s got some….loaded to me would be probably twice what I used in this recipe, but some people (my husband) prefer it when I use at least a modicum of garlic self control! Nevertheless, the garlic really shines through and pairs so perfectly with the thyme!
I wish I could share some special secret for selecting the best spaghetti squash at the market, but honestly, I have never gotten a bad one! As with all produce I obviously try to select squash with no obvious bruises or soft spots, but mostly what I consider most is the size! Typically I buy what I’d consider a medium squash (about football sized), this yields 4-6 cups of cooked squash which is enough as a side dish for 4, plus a little leftover for the next day! Of course only you can judge how much you’ll need to feed your crew, but for this recipe I used a medium sized squash and 24 ounces of cremini mushrooms to yield a generous 6 servings!
Tip: To prepare the spaghetti squash, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the halves cut side down in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate them. Add about 1″ of water to the bottom of the pan, pierce the outer shell of the squash a few times with a sharp knife, then place in a 375 degree oven. Check for doneness after about 30 minutes and continue baking, checking every 5 minutes until done. Squash is done when a sharp knife glides through the outer shell. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a working surface to cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the inner flesh with a fork until it resembles spaghetti noodles.
To prepare the sauce, simply clean and slice the mushrooms, garlic, and shallot. Then sauté them in a large skillet over medium heat until they are softened and the liquids produced by the mushrooms have mostly cooked away. After that it’s a simple matter of adding the cashew cream, salt, pepper, and a generous amount of thyme, stirring it all together and warming it through, then pouring it over the cooked and shredded spaghetti squash.
This is a dish that is rustic but yet classy at the same time! I served it to family, but wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to guests! And for me – it qualifies as comfort food! It’s rich and meaty from the mushrooms, sauce, and seasonings, yet light and very healthy thanks to the spaghetti squash! It’s a meal in itself for me, but for my family I paired it with some grilled chicken and a side salad. We all enjoyed in immensely, as I hope you do too!
- 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
- 24 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 8 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 medium shallot
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 recipe cashew cream (link in body of post)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down in roasting pan with an inch of water in the bottom.
- Pierce the squash a few times with a sharp knife, then bake 30-45 minutes, checking for doneness after the first 30 minutes. Squash is done when a sharp knife easily glides through the outer shell.
- When done, remove from oven and carefully transfer baked squash to a work surface until cool enough to handle. Once cool, scrape the squash flesh with a fork until it resembles spaghetti noodles.
- Place in serving bowl and set aside.
- After placing squash in the oven begin prepping sauce ingredients by slicing the mushrooms and garlic, and dicing the shallot.
- Drizzle a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat.
- Sauté shallot and garlic for just a minute or two until fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Add mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until liquid from mushrooms is evaporated and mushrooms are tender.
- Stir in cashew cream and thyme and heat through.
- Adjust seasoning to taste by adding salt and pepper as desired.
- Pour warm sauce over shredded spaghetti sauce and serve piping hot!
- I recommend using at least 6 tbsp of fresh thyme, but adjust the amount you use to suit your preferences.
- This recipe easily serves 6-8 depending on the size of the squash and whether it's being served as a side or main dish.
- Refrigerate leftovers.