Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, Mushrooms and Cherry Tomatoes

To say that this dish is a winner is an understatement. Try it now and see if you agree!



1 spaghetti squash
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling the squash
Salt and pepper
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
2 big handfuls spinach leaves
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Rub the inside of each half with a drizzle of olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Arrange, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until tender. Check doneness by inserting a fork between the skin and the flesh. If it is tender and you can start to create strands with the fork, then it is done.
2. Flip them over (otherwise they will continue to cool), and set them aside until they are cool enough to handle.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until carmelized and just tender, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Add the tomatoes and two big pinches of salt, plus black pepper to taste. Cook the tomatoes, stirring, until they start to lose their shape, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in the spinach and sauté until wilted, about 3 minutes. Tear or slice the basil leaves and stir into the mixture.
6. Using a fork, pull the strands of squash crosswise from the peel so that it resembles spaghetti. Add it to the sauce and sauté over medium hear until it is warmed through. Add the cheese, if using, and toss to combine.

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