Stripetti Squash “Au Gratin”

I was at the grocery store the other day and I came across these cute little, almost miniature, stripetti squash…

They were so cute, so adorable that I had to get some, even though they were not on my list and I had no plan to use them that week. Hey, squash do keep for a while and surely, stripetti squash could be no exception. They would have to wait for the next week. Or the one after.

And they did!

Now, I can already hear some of you questionning: “You say what squash? Surely you mean spaghetti squash!”

No, seriously, I really mean Stripetti Squash. It’s not very common, but it sure is beautiful!

It’s actually a cross between the Delicata and Spaghetti Squash varieties. I had tried it once before, in the bigger, more mature form, and had found it to be extremely similar to spaghetti squash, except it was so much prettier and its flesh  was maybe a tad sweeter…

I figured I was going to prepare the young guys pretty much like I would the bigger, more mature family members: cut them in half, remove the seeds, bake them in oven face down, shred that gorgesous flesh into strands with a fork, cover with tomato sauce and sprinkle with goat cheese and parsley or something like that.

Except that, since they were so cute and tiny, I thought I’d serve that flesh right into the empty shells.

However, I was in for a surprise, well, in fact, two surprises and had to sort of change plans at the last minute.

Surprise number one: The squash were so young that their flesh refused to be shredded to form the usual strands. You could see that it sort of wanted to, but was way too creamy for that to happen.

Surprise number 2: The skin was extremely delicate and fragile. So much so that the whole squash could be eaten, skin and all!

Oh well! I decided to just fill the cavity with the tomato, lentil and spinach sauce that I had made, top that with mozzarrella cheese and pop them in the oven to melt the cheese.

Not quite what I had in mind, but not a bad alternative at all!

I certainly hope that I can get my hands on young Stripetti Squash again in the future!

And if you are lucky enough to come across it, get it! You’ll thank me for it. :)

OVEN BAKED STRIPETTI SQUASH WITH LENTIL AND SPINACH SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small stripetti squash (use spaghetti if you can’t find stripetti)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup green Du Puy lentils
  • 1-28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 150g spinach

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Cut stripetti (or spaghetti) squash in half and remove the seeds. Sprinkle each half with a bit of salt and pepper and lay them face down in a shallow baking dish. Add about ¼ inch of water in the bottom of the pan, cover loosely with foil and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes, until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook onions, celery, garlic and bell peppers over medium heat until fragrant and the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add seasonings and lentils and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and water, bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 25 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in spinach leaves. The heat of the sauce will cook them as you stir.
  6. Spoon sauce into each squash half, then sprinkle mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and starts to color slightly.
  8. Set to broil for a few minutes if cheese hasn’t taken quite enough color.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    These look so pretty! I actually saw some of these squash at the local farmers market and I had to ask what they were because I had no idea. Now I’m a bit curious to try one, although my one spaghetti squash plant went crazy this summer and I’m still working on those. I saw a picture of spaghetti squash baked with the sauce and cheese on top and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I can’t wait to try out my own version, although your lentil sauce does look and sound delicious :D

  2. says

    O that looks pretty delicious! I’ve never seen these little babies before. But then we usually have regular butternut squash and the large orange ones here and any other variety is not to be found. If I do find them I’ll get them for sure!

  3. says

    I just cooked with squash for the first time this past week and it was amazing! I’m mad that I have been missing out on something so delicious! I will have to try this they remind me of twice baked potatoes with a squashy twist!

  4. says

    I’ve never had stripetti squash – it sounds awesome! I love spaghetti squash and delicata do I know I’d adore this too! I made a stuffed delicate squash a couple nights ago but I love the addition of lentils in yours, beautiful as always!!!

  5. Donna says

    Yet another magnificent, creative offering from “the Master”…at least for me! I cannot tell you how many times you’ve provided the inspiration I NEED DESPERATELY for delicious, yet nutritious meal planning! This was a HUGE winner in our house…I didn’t have “lentilles du Puys” in the cupboard…but I had some black “caviar” lentilles (Beluga) and it worked just fantastically…the shot of black really pretty actually!
    Again, thanks for helping your fan-club of readers out once again….

    • says

      Awww, thank you so much Donna, I am so happy that this recipe worked out for you! I’ve never tried beluga lentils before. This is definitely going on my list of new food items that I need to try. I sure love the fact that they be named “caviar”.

      Thank you so much for your awesome feedback, you have so made my day! :D

  6. says

    I consider myself pretty well versed in winter squash and I haven’t yet tried this one – I’ll be looking for it! Love the sound of this meal :)

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