I had so much fun last month participating in the Secret Recipe Club that I couldn't wait for my assignment this month! I loved getting introduced to a blog I might not have otherwise ever known about. This month I was assigned, Mele Cotte.
The first thing I like to do is to get a little background information on the blogger. It helps me feel like we're actually meeting for the first time, except in a stalkerish kind of way. Maybe describing myself as a private investigator makes it sound a little less criminal. Anywho, first up was to determine what the origin of Mele Cotte's name was. It means 'baked apple' in Italian. Yum, I love baked apples! We're on the right track. Then I discovered that Christina comes from a history of authentic Italian cooks and she is even certified by the Art Institute of Atlanta in baking and pastry! This should be good, I love Italian and I love baking (:
As I began scouring her blog, my usual indecisiveness reared it's ugly head. Should I use up that one lonely eggplant from my CSA and make her Stuffed Eggplant, or try a new grain and make her Mushroom Farro, or since it's starting to turn chilly, maybe her Tuscan Minestrone Soup? They all looked and sounded so yummy but in the end, I chose her Spaghetti Squash Gratin because it was something I hadn't tried, I had all of the ingredients, and it looked delicious!
Spaghetti Squash Gratin with Walnuts and Bacon
adapted from Mele Cotte
Spaghetti squash, about 3-4 lbs
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/3 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup cheese (dry mozzarella, or whatever you have on hand)
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Carefully slice the squash in half (heating it in the microwave for 2 minutes or so makes this process a lot easier!) and remove seeds. Rub flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until you can easily comb a fork through the flesh.
Scrape out all of the "spaghetti" flesh from each half and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place half of squash in a greased 8x8 baking dish. Top with bacon crumbles, toasted nuts, and HALF of the shredded cheese. Top with remaining squash, followed by remaining cheese and panko crumbs.
Increase oven temperature to 375 and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the top is brown and the cheese has melted.