Recipe development and food styling by Josh Miller, managing editor
When it comes to comfort food, nothing hits the spot for me like my mom’s chicken spaghetti. This version gets a gentle and wholesome makeover, swapping the processed cheese for a homemade bacon-infused cheese sauce and the pasta for naturally gluten-free spaghetti squash.
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- 4 slices center-cut bacon
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups reduced-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
- 11⁄2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large spaghetti squash, roasted and pulp scraped and reserved
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 4 cups cubed cornbread, divided
- Garnish: chopped green onion
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon. Let cool; crumble. Reserve 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat in pan.
- Add flour and garlic to pan. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and cumin. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with green chiles, 1 cup Cheddar, and Parmesan until melted. Remove from heat.
- Stir in spaghetti squash, chicken, cherry tomatoes, green onion, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt until combined. Gently stir in 3 cups cornbread. Pour mixture into prepared dish; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cornbread, remaining 1⁄2 cup Cheddar, and bacon.
- Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with green onion, if desired.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out interior pulp and seeds. Drizzle squash halves with 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down. Bake at 400° until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes. Using a fork, scrape squash strands into a medium bowl. Set aside.