Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Fried Sage

Last month, for the first time ever, I bought a spaghetti squash and it became my latest food addiction. Spaghetti squash makes a wonderful, very easy, and all vegetable dinner dish. It is very delicate and after cooking, when scrapped with fork, creates spaghetti-like strings. Not only it can make a vegan, low calorie dish but also just with one serving provides a lot of valuable nutrients, such as beta carotene, folic acid, potassium and vitamin A.

Trying to get an opinion on the best way to serve spaghetti squash I looked for different suggestions and recipes. Most of them called for traditional pasta sauces on top. But I find Alfredo or meat ball sauces too heavy for such a delicately tasting vegetable, whose taste should be enhanced by but not lost in the rich topping.

Following this principle, I first made a delicate tomato sauce with shallots and parsley. I used fresh tomatoes which I cooked briefly. The dish turned out to be delicate and quite different than a typical pasta dish. You could still taste squash while tomatoes added extra sourness to the mild taste.

But today, exploring further the potential of the spaghetti squash, I have tried a different idea. I like to use sage for dishes made with squash family vegetables. I did so for gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, or risotto. So I took a bunch of fresh sage leaves from my herb yard and fried them in butter. I drizzled squash with sage-infused butter and finished with fried sage leaves. I think this combination turned out to be absolutely perfect--a delicate squash, strong sage flavor, and contrasting textures of the soft squash and crispy sage leaves.

Spaghetti Squash with Fried Sage
(Serves four)

1 spaghetti squash (3-4 lb),
1 bunch of fresh sage,
1 stick of butter,
freshly grounded pepper and salt.

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Cut squash in half and using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop remove the seeds.
3. Place halves of squash on a large baking form, skin up. Poke it a couple of times with the fork to pierce the skin.
4. Bake for about 40 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare sage. Melt the butter in a small heavy duty pot, on a high heat. When it starts bubble add sage leaves, turn the heat to medium high and fried until leaves twiddle and turn dark green. Drain the leaves on the paper towel. Reserve the butter.
6. Remove the baked squash from the oven. Turn it flesh up and using a fork scrub the spaghetti-like flesh out.

7. Place the squash spaghetti on a serving plate. Drizzle with butter, finish with sage leaves, and season generously with salt and pepper. Serve hot.