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Tursketti (Turkey Spaghetti Squash Bake)

16 December 2013

Tursketti_turkey spaghetti squash bake turketti_heidikinscooks_Dec 2013

For the last year or so I have made a conscious effort to add more vegetables and less bread and pasta into my diet. I am not gluten intolerant, but I have a sneaky suspicion J-Mo might be, and I really don’t need as many carbohydrates as I prefer. Spaghetti squash and cauliflower have been my go-to replacements for pasta, and for the most part I have hardly noticed the switch. Turketti is a pretty popular casserole-like dish where you bake the dry noodles in liquid and a bunch of vegetables all at once. This version uses spaghetti squash, therefore, is Tursketti (see what I did there.) After Thanksgiving I had *4 quart bags* of leftover roast turkey to try and cram into my freezer. I’m slowly making my way through that stash. (You could easily use roast chicken if that’s what you have on hand. Although, then you’d need to rename this Chisketti, which is almost as fun to say.)

I think they key to this dish isn’t the mix of flavors (turkey, bacon, mushrooms, pimentos, Mozzarella and Parmesan), but is the double handful of toasted almonds on top. They give each bite a delightful crunch and because I toasted them in the leftover drippings from cooking my bacon…well, you see how that is a recipe for awesome, right? When in doubt, add more bacon-toasted almonds. Always.

Tursketti

{Turkey and Bacon Spaghetti Squash Bake}

1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, roasted

6-8 pieces bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 oz. brown mushrooms, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
2 cups roasted turkey, rough chop (I used Thanksgiving leftovers from the freezer)
1/2-3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 cups fresh spinach (4-5 oz.) cut into ribbons
1-1 1/2 cup Alfredo pasta sauce
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 4 oz. jar diced red pimentos

To roast spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400*. Slice squash length-wise with a large, sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and guts and rub the cut edge with a little bit of olive oil. Place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Add 1-1 1/2 cups water to baking sheet (much easier to do this after the pan is in the oven). Bake 30-45 minutes (for this dish I’d shoot for closer to the 30 minute mark so it’s not quite so wet, you’ll bake it again with the rest of the ingredients.) When the squash is cool enough to handle drag a fork lengthwise through the squash to make noodles. OR, you can roast the squash a day or two before and keep it in the fridge covered tightly in plastic wrap until ready to use. (Use within 2-3 days of roasting).

(Roasting the spaghetti squash requires a 400* oven, but the baking part of this dish requires a 350* oven. Pre-roast your squash, or reduce your heat accordingly.)

Chop the bacon and cook in skillet until it is crispy-crispy, but not burned. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until the onion is translucent. While that is cooking layer the following in a 9×13 dish: spaghetti squash noodles, shredded spinach, Alfredo sauce, white pepper and dry mustard, roast Turkey, Mozzarella cheese.

This order is not essential, but I tried this dish 3 times and I think this is the best way. When the spinach is on top it gets crispy (weird), when the sauce is on top the noodles aren’t flavored and just taste like cooked squash (not awesome), and you want to keep your cheeses far enough apart that every bite has a bit of cheesy goodness and you’re not fighting a Mozzarella blanket anywhere.

When the bacon-onion-mushroom mixture is done, spoon it over the Mozzarella. Add the almonds into that same skillet and cook them a few minutes, stirring constantly, until they are toasted a lovely golden brown. Remove from heat.

On top of the bacon-onion-mushroom layer, add the green bell pepper, the Parmesan cheese, and the pimentos. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top of that and pop into the 350* oven for 25-30 minutes.

Now, if you really want this to look extra Christmasy with green and red and white on the top, add a little more shredded spinach to the green bell peppers to cover up anything below that. Just a thin layer is all that is necessary to give a good rich green base for the red pimentos and the white Parmesan.

Enjoy!

Tursketti_heidikinscooks_Dec 2013

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