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Spaghetti Squash Casserole

 food photoIf you’ve never worked with spaghetti squash, you have really missed a great no fat, low calorie fun food.   ThisSpaghetti Squash Casserole features this squash as an entree instead of its usual role of side dish.   The squash, when cooked, can be pulled with a fork and  is identical in looks to spaghetti.

I find it impossible to cut this squash uncooked.  So, I simply put it on a piece of parchment or foil that has been sprayed and bake it.  After it cools a bit, I cut it, scrape out the seeds and turn it into spaghetti.  The direction you cut the squash yields a different result.  If the squash is cut crosswise the strands will be long just like spaghetti.

If it is cut lengthwise, the strands will be shorter but I find them easier to eat and to use.

By omitting the sausage from this Spaghetti Squash Casserole, you have a great vegetarian entrée.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole food photo1 spaghetti squash about 2 1/4 pounds
1 pound Italian Sausage
1 – 14 1/2 ounce can petit diced tomatoes, well drained
1 – 2/3 ounce package fresh basil, finely cut
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 Roma tomatoes, sliced about 1/3 inch thick
6 ounces sliced provolone

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray.  Place the whole squash on the pan and roast for about one and one half hours until soft.  Set it aside to cool.

Spray a 2 quart casserole and set aside.

Cook the Italian sausage, breaking it into bite size clumps until browned and completely cooked through.   food photoDrain on paper towels.  Set aside.

Cut the squash lengthwise and discard the seeds.  With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash into a large bowl.  food photo

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Add the basil, salt and pepper; mix well. food photo

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Layer the squash mixture in the bottom of the casserole.   food photoTop with the sausage  food photoand arrange the provolone cheese to cover.     food photoSet aside.  Cover the cheese with tomato slices. food photo

Cheesy Crumb topping food photo

1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup sharp asiago or parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the first five ingredients and mix well.   food photoDrizzle olive oil over and stir with a fork to coat the crumbs.   food photoTop the casserole with the crumbs.   food photoDrizzle remaining olive oil over the crumbs.

Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until hot through and the cheese has melted.

Serves 6.

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