Saturday, November 7, 2015

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom, Garlic & Sage

Ever since we joined a local community supported agriculture program, or CSA, I have been challenged by a variety of vegetables that I never cooked with before.  I previously posted my challenge with acorn squash, which resulted in a very delicious soup.  Ever since that time, I have decided to challenge myself with the other vegetables that come with each shipment.

We had other squash in our shipment, including a spaghetti squash.  The concept of spaghetti + squash seemed a little ridiculous.  Pasta comes from flour, water and eggs, like my most favorite dishes, Maccheroni alla Chitarra and Paglia e Fieno.  Pasta does not come from something associated with gourds and pumpkins.  Needless to say, I have always been skeptical of spaghetti squash.  The skepticism kept me from cooking with the ingredient.  Why cook with a spaghetti squash when I could make or have real spaghetti. 

I have to admit that kind of thinking creates limitations, which, in turn, inhibit creativity.  So I set aside my skepticism and sought out a recipe that I could use to make spaghetti squash.  I found a recipe on a blog called Feasting at Home that incorporated some traditional Italian flavors, such as garlic, sage and mushrooms.  With that recipe, I set out to make my first dish using spaghetti squash.

The recipe was definitely a good entry into cooking with this squash.  If there was any issue with the recipe, it was the cooking times.  The recipe calls for cooking the squash 40 to 50 minutes.  I would definitely go with the 50 minutes, to ensure the whole squash is cooked.  

This recipe is categorized as a side dish, but add a few meatballs and you can have a main course.  I just made some simple turkey meatballs because my beautiful wife, Clare, loves turkey.  

Recipe by Feasting at Home
Serves 2

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
12-16 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Generous pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup grated cheese (pecorino or parmesan)
Drizzle truffle oil, optional

1.  Prepare the spaghetti squash.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half (either way) and place open side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes.

2.  Saute the onion, mushroom, garlic and sage.  While the squash is baking, heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Saute the onions until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms, turn heat to medium and saute until they begin to release their liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add garlic and sage and continue cooking until mushrooms brown, about 4 minutes.  Season generously with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 

3.  Finish the dish.  Check squash by piercing with the tip of a sharp knife to see if it is done.  When tender, take out of the oven, turn over and let it cool slightly until cook enough to handle.  Then scoop out seeds and scoop out the spaghetti squash into the saute pan with the mushrooms and stir to incorporate.  Taste for salt and add more if necessary.  Stir in most of the grated cheese, saving some for garnish.  Place in serving bowl, top with the remaining cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil. 


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