Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Confetti Spaghetti Squash

I finally got around to organizing some photos I took over the last few weeks.  In doing so, I realized I neglected sharing a side dish I made with spaghetti squash.  Spaghetti squash qualifies as a winter squash variety, and while it's technically not winter just yet, the view outside tells me otherwise.  Just this weekend we watched icy cold rain turn to snow from our window.  Snow.  In October.  Yes, a rarity, but also a glaringly obvious reason to dig out the wool socks and sweaters we stored away.  Also ironic is the snowman with a pumpkin head that has taken form on my neighbors' lawn.  A collision of autumn and winter it seems, creating a beautiful chaos of sorts.  Although the weather forecast predicts sixty-degree temperatures later this week, I have to remind myself it is New England after all, so you can never be too sure.  Remember those hydrangea pictures I shared with you over the summer?  Here's an updated icy-cold version.  Still beautiful though, don't you think?  Like the hydrangeas, I'm doing my best to embrace the chill at the moment.

This side dish is something I made with things I had on hand.  If you haven't worked with spaghetti squash before, you are in for a treat.  It's such a nifty and fun vegetable to play around with.  The insides hold delectable sweet and crunchy strands that can be jazzed up any number of ways.  I've had it sweet with butter and brown sugar.  I've had it savory with chopped tomatoes and feta, and I've even had it spicy with crushed red pepper flakes.  A good deal of recipes call for a marinara style sauce on top, using the spaghetti squash as a stand in for pasta.  You could certainly go that route if you like, but tomato sauce seems a bit too heavy for something so delicate.  

I chose some mild ingredients that are not at all overpowering or competing.  I saute the strands with leeks, which have a more delicate and mild flavor than onions, add a helping of fresh chopped parsley, and some fresh squeezed lemon juice.  It's all very effortless, very light, and it's a cinch to throw together as a side dish.  Whenever I use leeks, I chop them into half moons and submerge them in a bowl of water.  It's by far the easiest method I've come across.  By swishing them around in a bath, you can remove any debris that gets trapped inside before straining them.  

The process of removing the strands from the squash is easy enough.  I like to start from the front to back, scraping with a fork.  Then I move along the insides, scraping towards the center.  You might be surprised at how much squash each half holds.  It reminds me of nature's own pasta of sorts, but unlike a big bowl of spaghetti, this is light and luscious, and will leave you feeling as such.  The strands get tossed into the wilted leeks, creating confetti of yellow and green ribbons.  With just a handful of ingredients, this might just be the most ridiculously easy side dish I've made.  There you have it, a simple dish, simply stated. 

~Confetti Spaghetti Squash Recipe~

1 spaghetti squash (2 1/2-3lbs), roasted with 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, cut in half lengthwise, and again into 1/2" moons
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
handful fresh parsley, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and pepper to your liking

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut your spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Drizzle a tsp of olive oil on each half and roast for about an hour.  You'll know it's done when can be easily pierced in  the center.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.  Using a fork, scrape down the insides of the squash to remove the strands.

After cleaning leeks, saute them in a large pan with extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Saute for 5-7 minutes, until they have wilted.  Add in the squash strands and stir together.  Add in parsley and lemon juice, incorporating all the ingredients together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 4-6 as a side dish. 

A few more photos of simple beauty I captured, pre-nor'easter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have always been so curious about spaghetti squash. I see it a lot of times with marina sauce dumped on top in order to imitate a low-carb version of spaghetti, but this looks much, much more intriguing. I think I'm going to pick up some of that squash soon and try some version of this out.