Movies at Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Sausage

Films and Food. Oh, when they are good, they are sooooo good.  Usually it is separately, however there are instances when together they’ve grown into bosom buddies in our mysterious minds.

“Goddamn, that’s a pretty fu**ing good milkshake.”
“Told ya.”
“I don’t know if it’s worth five dollars, but it’s pretty fu**ing good”

I can’t order a milkshake, especially not a $5 shake without thinking of Pulp Fiction. Hell, I can’t even order a high-$$$ everyday eatable without thinking of Pulp Fiction. The $10 burger? $16 pho? They all get the Vincent Vega skepticism.

This film and food connection extends way past burgers, shakes, and the cult dialog of Pulp Fiction. Sometimes it is the music getting swallowed up into noir. Mambo Italiano and Big Night, anyone? Or take Paolo Conte’s “Via con me” and the kitchen scenes of Mostly Martha (Though, don’t get me started on the “American” remake.  Not happy.)

Other times it will be a certain dish or ingredient which sparks the TCM flashback. Spice and chocolate – Chocolat. Any mention of bear meat – A Chef in Love(Weird, I know but if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Nearly all of our Top 10 Food Films will inspire some sort of culinary trigger.

Sometimes they will even inspire or influence our cooking or techniques. I first tackled the challenge of Puff Pastry due to Babette’s Feast. And an obscure scene from Dinner Rush forever changed how I cook sausage.

One of the boys in the kitchen whips up a quick meal of sausage and pasta for the boss (Danny Aiello). To cook the sausage, he took an uncooked sausage, pulled pinches of sausage out of the casing, dropped the perfect little balls into the pan and quickly sauteed them up.

So simple. So brilliant. Something I had never seen or read about. We didn’t grow up in an Italian cooking household so my ways going about Italian cooking stemmed from books. And now, the movies have become my teacher too.

In a salute to the great food movies, here’s a simple little dish using this movie inspired cooking technique… Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage.

We love spaghetti squash. It is a perfect winter squash, giving up a great texture when cooked right. Try not to cook it until it gets mushy.  It should still have a little bite like… spaghetti. Mangia!

-Todd

P.S. Would love to hear your food and film connections!  Whether it is just your favorite food movies or scenes (am dying to see Tampopo – curse you Netflix for not having it!), foods you associate with a movie, or anything else related. Hit us with your Fave Fives.

roast in oven until squash separate easily

sautee shallots and garlic till lightly golden

cook pinched sausage till golden brown

add squash, cook till heated, toss with parmesan cheese & herbs. Enjoy!

Dive in. Soooo good.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Recipe

Yield: Serves 3-4.

Total Time: 1 hour

There are lots of recipes quickly microwaving spaghetti squash to cook it, but I just like the taste and texture of roasting the squash better. It brings out the aromas and fills the kitchen. If pressed for time to make dinner, since the squash is warmed in the pan with the sausage at the end, one could always roast the spaghetti squash ahead of time and then quickly heat it with the sausage at dinner time. Try not to over cook the squash until it becomes overly soft.  It should still have a bit of a bite to the texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash (@3lbs or 1365g)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) Olive Oil (divided in two parts)
  • 5 or 6 medium Shallots, thickly sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • 3/4 pound (340g) uncooked Sausage (any kind you prefer)
  • 1 cup (60g) coarsely grated Parmigiana Reggiano
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Oregano, or other complimentary herb to the sausage
  • Kosher or Sea Salt, to taste
  • fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

    Preheat Oven to 375°F. Oil a sheet pan with first 1 T of olive oil.

  1. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. (Use the tip of the knife to first pierce and get the cut started. Once you get the first cut started the rest of the squash should slice easily.) Scoop out the seeds and strands, then place cut side down on the prepared sheet pan.
  2. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash flesh separates easily into strands with a fork. Finish loosening and removing the "spaghetti" from the shells and set aside.
  3. Onto a large sheet of butcher paper or similar, pinch and pull small balls of sausage out of the casing, laying them so they stay slightly separate. Continue for all of the sausage.
  4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Heat second 1 T of olive oil in pan, then add shallots and garlic. Cook until soft, stirring every 30 seconds, then add sausage. Cook untouched until bottom side of sausage starts to brown, then stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the sausage is cooked through (@2-3 minutes depending on heat and size of sausage).
  5. Add spaghetti squash strands to the sausage and continue cooking until heated (usually less than a minute.)
  6. Remove from heat. Toss in Parmigiana Reggiano and oregano.  Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper (remember the cheese will have a bit of "saltiness" to it already.) Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Maria

    Love the Spaghetti Squash recipe! Either Home Alone 1 or 2 make me want cheese pizza and whenever I’m slicing garlic I think of Pauly in Goodfella’s…slice it paper thin with a razor….

  2. Caroline

    Bought your beautiful book and made this recipe yesterday. It was fantastically delicious! Thank you so much.
    As for movie-food connections, mine are both French movies: Amelie from Montmartre always makes me crave Creme Brulee, and Guardian Angels (1995) has a decadent looking Paris Brest pastry!

  3. Isis

    I made this tonight, and I thought it was AMAZING!!! Thanks for the creative recipe!

  4. Leslie

    My favorite food movie, other than “Chocolat”, is “Tortilla Soup”.

  5. Julie

    Made this tonight, absolutely loved it!

  6. Mary

    I was looking for a unique spaghetti squash recipe, since we harvested 16 of them this season. It was great! We added feta cheese, and next time we will add grape tomatoes and kalamata olives…. mmmmm delish and thank you!

  7. brittneys

    Had this last night it was simply amazing, my first spaghetti squash experience and I’m hooked!

  8. Charlotte au Chocolat

    This looks delicious! Gorgeous photos!

  9. Marissa

    I made this tonight and it did not fall short of my expectations! I don’t eat grains, and so it totally hit the “pasta” spot for me:-) As far as food-movie connections go, definitely hands-down the Lady and the Tramp spaghetti and meatballs scene! It’s classic!

  10. Alex Bennett

    For me, my favourite food film so far has to be Julie and Julia, the film on the life of Julia Childs and the woman who dedicated a blog to working her way through all her recipes – made me want to try lobster, I’m just still saving up…

    Put me off onion a bit though, especially when she tried chopping her way through a mountain of the stuff just to get some practice in!

    I also whole-heartedly agree with whoever mentioned chocolat… Mmmmmm….

  11. Jean

    I’ve admired and followed you guys for years, shyly and from a distance, but had to emerge briefly to congratulate you on your growing success because I’m so excited about it. Whole Foods contract!

    Re movies: I’m surprised that no one has mentioned Casino and Goodfellas — there are so many great food scenes in each. The one in Casino where all the bosses meet in the back room “and one of the guys even made his mom do all the cooking” always makes me hungry for homemade meatballs and red sauce. And the prison scene in Goodfellas (“. . . ah, the pork, that’s what gives it the flavor”), I could watch that over and over again.

  12. Kristin

    I know this is a bit late and you may not see it, but we made this dish tonight and it was excellent! We used hot Italian sausage and we’ll definitely make this one again. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      It’s never late to share. So glad you loved it. Initially when we were making it, I thought about getting spicy sausage too. Right now we have 12 lbs of homemade sausage we’re using – so it might be a bit before we get to try a spicy sausage version. Glad to know it came out great!
      Todd

  13. Lucy

    I would agree with commenter above who said that Sideways took wine snobbery to a whole new level…loved that movie and probably consumed much more wine after watching. And Eat, Pray, Love…my girlfriends and I saw that and immediately went to a nearby Italian restaurant — we had to have pasta!
    Can’t wait to try your spaghetti squash — I love it prepared simply with a little homemade marinara, but this version looks divine!

  14. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Wish an image of food and film would pop into my mind right now but movies are few and far between these days. Love spaghetti squash, actually more that real pasta these days. Great recipe with the sausage!

  15. Karen

    What about “Tortilla Soup”?! Amazing food movie! It’s actually the Mexican-American version of “Eat Drink Man Woman”!

  16. Liz N

    Forgot my Fave Fives!
    1. Babette’s Feast
    2. Chocolat
    3. Ratatouille
    4. Julie & Julia
    5. Super Size Me (in a disturbing way)

  17. Jeanne

    Hi Todd, great recipe. I know I’m a little late on this, but has anyone mentioned Under the Tuscan Sun. I can hardly get past the part with the big pot of boiling water, the handful of salt and the pasta. So, pasta and artichokes for me.

  18. Amy

    Babette’s Feast is my favorite food movie–I can still hearing the clinking of the dishes as she set the table for the feast.

    I actually have a request for a food movie from one of my favorite books (which inspired me to make many changes in my home life–like our chickens) “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.”

    I’m making the spaghetti squash and sausage recipe tonight!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      If I had to pick an all time favorite food movie, it would have to be Babette’s Feast. Karen Blixen was already one of my favorite authors before watching the movie, such a great storyteller. Then to combine the food element takes it straight into my heart.

  19. Liz N

    I made this for dinner last night and it was AWESOME. We told our 4 1/2 year old daughter it was yellow spaghetti with meatballs and she ate it all. She even wanted MORE veggies and asked for some leftover roasted broccoli ‘on the side’. This is a big deal in our household. This recipe is a keeper!

  20. shannon

    gorgeous photos and yummy looking dish as usual!

    My foodie movie picks:

    In The Mood For Love (ah the rainy night noodle scenes!)
    Like Water for Chocolate
    Waitress
    Woman on Top
    Ratatouille
    Tampopo
    Julie & Julia
    Food Inc.

  21. Megan

    Tried this tonight with vegetarian sausage (Tofurkey’s Kielbasa-style “sausage”). It was GREAT! Amazing flavor and texture contrasts: sweet, tender squash and salty, chewy sausage. Thanks for the idea.

  22. Kristin

    We just made this dish, and OMG- we ate the whole thing!

    We used sausage from a local company & chose a flavor called ‘King & Thai’ and the bit of kick made this dish shine. We skipped the Parmesan as dairy’s a no-go in our house, but I can only imagine it would make it better!

  23. Mindy

    Made this last night and it was one of those simple and amazing food things that I’ll make a lot in the future. I want the leftovers, but I also want my husband to have them…..I better go buy another spaghetti squash.

  24. Helene

    I do a lasagna soup and that’s the way I cook my sausages. Now I’ll have to try with spaghetti squash. Brilliant idea! When I watch Chocolat I end up eating too much chocolate. :)

  25. Magic of Spice

    That is one fantastic dish!

  26. Ananda Rajashekar

    Stunning pictures first time here I’m in LOVE! haven’t tried squash spaghetti must give it try, delish! :)

  27. Mei Teng

    Amazing food photo. Beautiful dish.

  28. susan

    You have reminded me that I need to revisit some of my all time favorite food films; Like Water For Chocoalte, Babette’s Feast, Big Night – and so many more. Each and every one of those films tingled all of my senses. But, it was one in particular that made me dash out of the movie theater, before the end credits, and get myself to the nearest pizza parlor: Mystic Pizza! I think this was the late 80’s and we saw the movie somewhere near Fairfax. We could not get to “Mr. Pizza” fast enough and probably ate the whole pie! On another note, I have not made spaghetti squash in over 20 years. With the addition of sausage and shallots, how could this dish possibly go wrong?

  29. Gilda Claudine

    Lovely photos. I’d never tried spaghetti squash until I found it at the CSA we bought into last fall. I roasted it, but it just didn’t do much for me. But adding sausage (as seen here) seems like another reason to try it.

    As for movies? Lobster scene in Flashdance, that gorgeous fried egg sandwich in Spanglish, french fries and rollerskates in American Graffiti, and has anyone mentioned Nine 1/2 Weeks yet? Also, Eat, Man, Drink, Woman–I remember steamed dumplings.

    gck

    GCK

    1. Gilda Claudine

      And how could I forget Like Water for Chocolate?!? A beautiful, sensual film.

  30. Donna A.

    Can’t forget the food scenes in Eat, Pray, Love…especially the Neapolitan Pizza – Mangia Mangia!!

  31. Alan Finkelstein

    Wow, that looks really good, can’t wait to try. You take great pics…Can you tell me what kind of plates you served those on. Are those pie plates?
    Thanks,-al

  32. The Café Sucré Farine

    Yummy! I have only used spaghetti squash a few times – this looks delicious. Thanks for the great idea!

  33. Charles G Thompson

    Great post, Todd. I’m a longtime fan of movies with food, or food themes. Did you guys see “I Am Love” with Tilda Swinton? It’s available on Netflix. It’s my most recent fave food themed film. I think you’ll like it. Thanks for the spaghetti squash recipe — looks amazing.

  34. kellypea

    I’ve always been a total movie buff — especially when it comes to the old B&W classics, but have never associated them with food. hmmm. I’ll have to think on why that might be. As for spaghetti squash, I’ve never tried it, but have always been curious, and this mix with sausage sounds like a perfect way to get acquainted with it. Lovely, as always :)

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Love the older movies too. Especially the movies coming out of the 40’s and 50’s. I don’t associate food with most of those movies either. But cocktails…. Ah yes! Sidecar and Aunt Mame! It’s the movie which got me hooked on that classic cocktail!
      Todd

  35. Allison

    I have been wanting to try a spaghetti squash recipe similar to this for a long time, but your looks so good I don’t think I can wait any longer!

    You mentioned Chocolat, but that’s definitely one of those movies that makes me start drooling.

    Love your blog!

  36. Karen M.

    Haven’t read all the comments (must run or DH will brain me) but try your Public Library for Tampopo. I got it there awhile back and enjoyed it very much (am in SF Bay Area…)

  37. Christine

    Thinking about ‘food porn’ with all your great shots, but can’t think of any movies that spoke to me the way a still can.
    What are the movies with great sugary stuff? I was dismayed that neither Willy Wonka movie made me crave candy AT ALL, but any time there is a gold wrapper on anything the kids are always thinking about tickets!

  38. Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    I love spaghetti squash, and the sausage pairing is a great idea.

    For some peculiar reason, I remember eating fettuccine Alfredo while watching The Shining. I suppose it sticks out in my mind because the fettuccine was divine and the movie was deliciously eerie!

  39. Lindsey @DandyDishes

    I make mine the same way except I throw in some chopped tomatoes with the sausage and cook them down until I get a thick red sauce! Thanks for sharing :)

  40. leanne

    We love matching foods with films! One summer we tried to do it weekly with our outdoor movie projector. Next month, our friends are doing a Fast and the Furious marathon (1 per night) to gear up for Fast & Furious 5 – it’s going to be so fun!

    You *have* to watch Tampopo! You’ll never eat a bowl of ramen again without thinking of that movie. I love it!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We finally found Tampopo! It was brilliant! Tied for my favorite food movie of all time (Babette’s Feast) You’re right… I can’t eat ramen w/o thinking of Tampopo. I can’t even eat any noodle soup or hear the slurping of noodles w/o thinking of Tampopo!

  41. Chris & Skip in Avl

    You’ve finally done it. You’ve figured out a way to prepare spaghetti squash that I believe I could deeply enjoy. Spaghetti squash is one of the very few foods on earth that I no longer seek out at the market. Something about the flat depth of flavor and the plastic-like consistency that reminds me of unbinding stringy rubber golf ball cores … well, it just doesn’t blow my dress up. But this recipe I’m going to try! We have two good (ahem) SS left in cold storage from December’s tailgate and they are about to be spared from a compost burial.

    Wonderful work, as usual, guys!

  42. Donna A.

    I’m going to give a shout out to Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia and It’s Complicated. I never tire of women chef’s and their beautiful kitchen’s. We need more Food Movies!

    1. Sara

      I’m going to second those! I love them not only because Meryl is one of my favorite actresses but also for the fact the movies make me feel cozy. And to have a bakery like in “It’s Complicated” anywhere near here would be a dream, or if I owned on—whoo hoo! One of these days I will make chocolate croissants, lavender ice cream and croque monsieur…I will.

  43. Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    I love spaghetti squash, but usually make it the same way. This looks like a wonderful new recipe to try!

  44. Kelly @ SnailsView

    I love spaghetti squash, and your version looks amazing! It really makes me want to pick one up this weekend to cook!
    The first food movie that came to mind is Ratatouille, I can watch this over and over! And it it gives zucchini the love it deserves!
    Fun post, and beautiful pics as usual!

  45. Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls

    This looks incredible! I’ve always wanted to try spaghetti squash and I love cooking (or baking ;)) with my cast iron skillet! I can’t wait to try this! Stunningly beautiful photos… as always!

  46. Cassie, mamamakesitbest.com

    gorgeous shots, as always!

  47. Cookin' Canuck

    You listed several food films I haven’t seen – putting them on my list. I would have to add the classic, “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman”. I can’t get enough of the cooking scenes in that movie.

    This spaghetti squash dish is something we would love to eat for dinner. Spaghetti squash is so versatile and can take on almost any flavor profile.

  48. Yvette

    I LOVE the contrast of colors in your photos – Makes me want to whip up something in my cast iron skillet tonight! You dish looks delicioso!

    As far as food movie quotes…I always laugh when I hear the word “quarter pounder”.

    Pulp Fiction: What is a Quarter Pounder called in Europe? Royale with cheese. LOL!

    ~Yvette

  49. lisa dowling

    that looks magic. i make a VERY similar dish with spaghetti squash and homemade turkey meatballs. my 6 yr old daughter will eat the whole pan if left to her own devices.

    as for movie food, whenever i watch “big night” i need to make timballo, and when i watch “Eat drink man woman” i feel like a schmuck for not making each component by hand when i want an asian dish.
    :)

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Another great movie- Eat Drink Man Woman. Definitely takes making it from scratch to a whole nother level.

  50. Tracy Grant

    Yum!! So beautiful! and Tampompo!!! Watched that lots in the early 90’s. Excellent film!

  51. LoveFeast Table

    Love spaghetti squash! Here’s the thing…by the time we get our 5 kids to bed and at that point we have already made a large meal, cleaned it up, done a whirl wind of last minute clean up…we can’t wait to pop in a movie and not get up again. My hubs has perfected stove popped pop corn. He makes it in a big old stock pot (fills it to use in school lunches the next day) and we crack open a cold beer and we’re in movie heaven.
    ~Kristin

    1. White on Rice Couple

      That exactly how we do our popcorn too! Except usually it’s a cocktail instead of a beer. Nothing better than late evening popcorn!

  52. Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds

    I don’t think my experiences with spaghetti squash ever looked that pretty.

    I’m afraid my film / food connection is quite appalling – it’s more TV series related. Old Law & Order with Jerry Orbach, popcorn and a G&T.

  53. Michelle

    Mine are situated around booze – imagine that…

    White russians – The Big Lebowski was a game changer. Just try and drink one without thing of the dude. Impossible.

    As sad as it is after watching Sideways wine snobbery went to an all new high. I dig a good pinot noir. I can’t taste a pn without thinking of the movie.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      I’m totally with you on the White Russians. I’ve been making a variation of them all winter by subbing Calvados for the vodka. Can’t reach for the half & half (or cream and milk as is usually the case) without thinking of the Dude.

      1. Michelle

        Calvados…. brilliant!

  54. josephine

    I used to buy a $5.45 smoothie every Saturday morning, and every single time I’d think about the Pulp Fiction $5 milkshake. I think that’s the only detail that “dates” the movie. Now, people don’t think twice about paying more for good food.

  55. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

    Bedknobs and Broomsticks always made be want British food with I was little :) This dish looks delectable!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      I never saw Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but that genre was so fun to watch. Might have to see if Netflix has it!

  56. Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc

    I have never tried spaghetti squash before, but yours look really awesome, and makes me want to make one myself:) This is absolutely gorgeous!

  57. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

    The spaghetti squash looks PERFECT! Wow….I don’t make it nearly often enough but you’re the 2nd blog in a day that I’ve seen it on…that’s a sign. :)

  58. Deanna

    Two movies with Alan Rickman always make me hungry: Bottle Shock and any of the Harry Potter movies. The feasts in the Harry Potter movies always make me want food. The movies actually inspired a cake: The Butter Beer Cake. Its a brown butter and beer cake with butter scotch on top so good. In the animated realm, I like Ratatouille and The Princess and the Frog. The Princess and the Frog always makes me want Cajun food.

    This spaghetti squash looks amazing and its one of my favorite foods. Too bad I gave up meat for Lent.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Bottle Shock was great. So true about the Harry Potter feasts. Never thought of making anything off of them (I think of Bott’s Beans & chocolate frogs mostly) but you’ve got me inspired. The cake sounds fantastic!

  59. Laura

    I love spaghetti squash – it’s such a unique vegetable and so fun to use! As for my movie-food connections, I’m a huge fan of both but am having a lot of trouble thinking of certain foods and movies that I associate. Some of the films I cherished during my childhood remind me of a snack my mom would always make for my sisters and me – popcorn with melted marshmallows overtop. And you already named the other (somewhat obvious) one – Chocolat. But really, what’s more perfect for movie-watching (or any activity really) than a chocolatey snack?

  60. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    That looks so delicious! I have a spaghetti squash to use up and I was thinking about pairing it with sausage. Yum!

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