Creamy Asiago Chicken & Artichokes in Roasted Spaghetti Squash

December 13, 2018

I think my love of stuffing vegetables has been documented here on the blog (looking at you Stuffed Acorn Squash), and I have written before about my love for artichokes (we picked our wedding caterer because they had a passed fried artichoke appetizer, I am not even joking). But when I dreamed up this dinner, I really had no idea how much I would love stuffed spaghetti squash with the heavenly flavors of asiago and artichokes and blistered cherry tomatoes.

I love to balance out indulgence with virtuous eating as much as the next gal, and one of the ways I do that is to swap spaghetti for spaghetti squash because I just never notice the difference and thus don’t miss it. It’s like magic. On its own, spaghetti squash is such comfort food. Just a little olive oil, salt and pepper is amazing. With a terrific tomato sauce and hearty meatballs, it’s even better.

So what if we went in the creamy, cheesy direction?

This feels like the perfect dinner to serve around the holidays, since it is decadent for sure with the cream and cheese, but lower in carbs. If you have people who love carbs, feel free to pour all this over your favorite type of pasta and bake with cheese on top, it would also be delicious.

To start with, split your spaghetti squash in half, and roast for 35 minutes while you assemble the sauce. (Note: don’t cut the ends off your squash as you see in this picture – see my funny story below for why I did out of habit).

Then you make the filling with these lovely items…

To make this, you first sauté onions and garlic, then add chicken and tomatoes. While these cook, you make the cream sauce, and then combine them – I love the acid from the tomatoes in this dish.

Let the tomatoes cook down for three minutes while you chop these beauties…

I tend to think that one can of artichokes is enough for most people, but there was the artichoke lover in me that almost wished there was a second can. If that sounds like you, feel free to add it.

Once you add the artichokes be sure to just cook it for about 3 minutes more. Be sure not to over cook the tomatoes or they will just become mush. You want them ready to explode in every bite.

The cream sauce is the best! It is a variation on the one Giada DiLaurentiis uses in her Shells stuffed with Spinach and Pancetta. (Also a great dish to serve for crowds around the holidays, FYI). What I love about the sauce is the simple step of cooking the garlic in the butter to start really infuses the whole creamy goodness with a garlic flavor. It blends so well with asiago cheese.

You combine the chicken and veggies with the cream sauce, and pour into the spaghetti squash. If you are still reading this post, indulge me on a little story:

There was a woman who was making her first pot roast, and her mother was instructing her how to make it. She said to cut the ends off the pot roast. The young woman asked why? The mother said, ‘I don’t know. It’s just the way my mother taught me.’ So she called her mother, and asked why she cut the ends off the pot roast, and her mother said, ‘Because my roasting pan was too small.’

I thought of this when I made this dish, because I usually steam my spaghetti squash in the microwave, in a glass 9×12 pan with saran wrap over it and a little bit of water. I always need to trim the ends off my spaghetti squash to make it fit in the narrow pan. This takes only 20 minutes where roasting it takes 35-40 so on a busy weeknight when were are having spaghetti I go that route. But roasting ends up with a better quality so for a nice dish is definitely the way to go. Still, without thinking I trimmed my ends off.

Turns out, with a creamy boat you kind of want the ends attached to hold in all that sauce. It was fine as you can see and I just reserved much of the sauce so it didn’t spill out, and served it with the dish. My family devoured it. But word to the wise, you don’t need to cut the ends off. 

I know this dish will become a regular for our crew, since my husband and son loved it and I dreamed about the leftovers the next day for lunch.

Now that I know how good stuffed spaghetti squash is, my creative juices are flowing and the possibilities seem endless. Pulled pork with cheese? Sloppy joes? Beef, peppers and onions? Let me know if you run with any ideas! Or just stick with this one because it is amazing.

Hope you love it too!

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Creamy Asiago Chicken & Artichokes in Roasted Spaghetti Squash (printer version here):

2 spaghetti squash

2 T. olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves diced

3 chicken breasts diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes – cook for 3 minutes then add 1 can chopped artichoke hearts

1 can chopped artichoke hearts (double this if you love artichokes)

For Sauce:

2 T. butter 

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups cream

3 cups grated asiago cheese, plus ½ cup 

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley 

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425.

Split squash in half and roast on parchment for 35 min. 

While it cooks, heat olive oil in large pan, and sauté onion for 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. 

Add diced chicken and 1 t. salt, ½ t. pepper.

While the chicken cooks, make the sauce (recipe follows). 

When chicken is fully cooked, add cherry tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes, then add chopped artichoke hearts, cook for 3 minutes more. 

Pour sauce on top of chicken and artichoke mixture. 

Then pour mixture inside roasted spaghetti squash, reserving any extra sauce that doesn’t fit, and top with remaining ½ cup asiago cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted, about 15-20 minutes.

Removed and serve immediately. If there is any additional sauce, use it after shredding the spaghetti squash.

Directions for the sauce:

Melt butter in medium saucepan.

Add garlic and cook for one minute.

Add cream and simmer.

Turn heat to low and add 3 cups asiago cheese, parsley and pepper, stir until cheese is melted.

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