This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own. Giveaway details below.
Do you think about pairing wine with food? In my adventure to Washington wine country, I learned a few things about pairing from my new friend, sommelier Leslee Miller. First of all, you’ve got to taste the wine and the food together in your mouth. It’s not good enough just to sip and then take a bite. Both the wine and food must be in your mouth simultaneously. It’s all about flavors complementing flavors, and trying this gets you up close and personal. Second: wine pairing is not just for high-class, fancy foods. You can be as low brow as you’d like. Leslee was all about pairing a sparkling wine with white cheddar cheese puffs. Wine and cheese puffs? Yes, please.
So I think Leslee would be proud of my suggested pairing for this dish. This new recipe is a spaghetti squash mac & cheese, just as comforting and homey as it sounds. It’s our new favorite way to sneak the nutrients of squash into a naturally gluten-free take on the traditional pasta. Roasting this squash transforms its insides into long, slender “noodles.” Here we’ve even saved the shell to use as a serving dish. The spaghetti squash noodles are mixed with a creamy cheesy Béchamel sauce featuring Gruyere cheese. The Gruyere adds a bit of sophistication to the dish, along with a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of white wine vinegar. This one works as a main dish or a side (Alex and I have a longstanding debate on this topic). For me, it’s a main dish: I could see it as a lovely vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish or a Meatless Monday entree. Pair it with a few vegetable sides like a crisp salad or roasted Brussels sprouts.
And then of course, pair it with wine! On my trip to Washington, I got to try a large variety of wines made in Washington exclusively for ALDI. Of the wines I tried, to offset the rich dairy in this recipe I wanted something crisp and tart. Both a white wine or a sparkling wine could work here, so I’ve listed both below! Alex and I served it with the Crystal Creek Cellars Chardonnay, which had just the right Granny Smith tang to balance the cheesy spaghetti squash. Below are the wines we’d recommend for pairing:
- Crystal Creek Cellars Chardonnay (87 points)* $7.99 – If you don’t like oaky Chardonnay, this one’s for you. Aromas of Granny Smith apples and layered notes of pear, toasty oak and a hint of vanilla. Pairs well with roasted chicken, fettuccine with alfredo sauce or seafood.
- Maison de Joie Brut Sparkling (89 points) $11.49 – If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a big fan of bubbles. This one was lovely! Inviting aromas of apple and peach open at the front, leading to a light-to medium-bodied palate and a round effervescence. Pairs well with shellfish, strong cheeses or apple and walnut salad.
- Lot Series Grande Brut (91 points) $13.99 – This wine just received a Gold Medal BTI rating! Again, I’m a huge bubbly fan, and this one hit the spot for me. Lot Series Grande Brut is created in the true Méthode Champenoise winemaking style and aged a minimum of three years in the bottle. Delightfully effervescent with green apple and citrus flavors followed by a dry finish. Pairs well with poultry, seafood or spicy foods.
* scores are from Beverage Tasting Institute (BTI).
You can find these wines at your local ALDI; use this store locator to find a store near you. We also picked up a Specially Selected Gruyere cheese at ALDI, which happens to be an award-winning product from American chefs. Let us know if you try any of these products out; we’d love to know your thoughts!
Giveaway: To celebrate the holidays and wine pairings, we’re giving away $50 to ALDI to stock up on your favorite wines! Follow us on Instagram to see more details.
Looking for spaghetti squash recipes?
Somehow in the seven year history of A Couple Cooks, we only have one spaghetti squash recipe. But it’s a fan favorite. Would you like to see more spaghetti squash recipes? Let us know in the comments below!
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This recipe is…
Vegetarian and gluten-free.
Bonus: even 8-month old Larson LOVES this recipe.
Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese
- 2 large spaghetti squash (around 5 pounds)
- 6 ounces Specially Selected Gruyere (about 2 cups shredded; you also can use Jarlsberg, or a mix of Gruyere and Cheddar)
- 2 tablespoons Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter
- 2 tablespoons Baker’s Corner cornstarch
- 2 cups Friendly Farms 2% milk
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon Stonemill ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground Stonemill black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Stonemill paprika, for garnish
- Finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Using a large, sharp knife, cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out the seeds using a spoon and sprinkle the cut sides with olive oil. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the squash (check at 30 minutes regardless). When the squash is done, use a fork to carefully scrape out the flesh of each half into “noodles”, taking care to keep the squash shell intact. Place the noodles in a colander or strainer and drain for 10 minutes to remove the extra moisture. Save the squash shells for serving.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the cornstarch and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk until hot (microwave in a glass measuring cup, or heat in another pan on the stove). Gradually add the hot milk to the butter mixture, whisking continuously until very smooth. The first addition of milk will cause the mixture to become chunky, keep whisking and adding milk until it becomes smooth. Bring to a boil and cook 3 to 5 minutes until very thick, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, nutmeg and several grinds black pepper. Stir in 1⅓ cups cheese until it melts, then add the white wine vinegar and remove from the heat.
- Add the drained squash into the pan, then mix it with the cheese sauce and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and add additional salt if desired depending on the size of the squash. Pour the mixture back into the squash shells, dividing the mixture equally among the shells. Sprinkle each squash with the remaining cheese, then with a dusting of paprika. Bake until cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
- To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve warm.