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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Well, Lily and I had a scheduling mix-up this morning and found ourselves out and about, dressed up, and no place in particular to be.  So to avoid the defeat of returning home with nothing to show for it, we stopped at a roadside produce market and milled around for a while.  We ended up with a big, fat spaghetti squash to try out.  It was to become our Cooking Project du Jour.
Although my little ones were curious, and always willing to assist in cutting, slicing, and dicing, they were not quite as enthusiastic about it as I was as something we were going to actually eat.  These things do happen.  
Here is our test subject.

Gather some various leftover veggies you may have lying around the kitchen.  And by all means grab a pint of some sweet juicy grape tomatoes!

Cut all the veggies and arrange in a single layers on a silpat or a baking sheet lined with parchment or non-stick cooking spray.

Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to all the veggies and season generously with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and dried basil.

Set the veggies in a 375 degree oven to roast for about an hour or until desired level of doneness.

Split the squash.

Kinda looks like a pumpkin, huh?

Scoop out the seeds and fibers until clean.

.... like this.

Place them cut side down in a dish, add about an inch of water.

Cover with plastic wrap and pop them in the microwave for about 15 minutes.


After letting them sit to cool a while (they are HOT!), scrape the flesh out from "stem to stern" with a fork.  It really does come out looking like pasta.

One spaghetti squash makes a whole platter of "noodles."
 
Ok... so for the babies, I topped it off with meatballs, marinara, and Parmesan.  You gotta give a little, right?
Here are the roasted veggies.
 
Now for the sauce, chopped garlic added to EVOO and butter.  Saute for a couple of minutes.

Add white wine.  Maybe half a cup or so.

... a squeeze of lemon

... finished off with basil, oregano, and a little red pepper flakes.

Toss the veggies with the spaghetti squash "noodles" and top with with sauce.
 
And for garnish, a little sprinkling of fresh parsley and some mozzarella cubes.
The synopsis.  Pretty darned good.  The rare all-vegetarian dish around here.  An excuse to eat all those lovely roasted tomatoes.  - and since it is basically a blank canvas without any real taste of its own, its a nice alternative to someone who can't or chooses to avoid eating pasta. .... although my kids definitely made it known that they will still opt for regular pasta, thank you very much.  Sigh.. it's just been one of those days!

Written Directions:
Gather some various leftover veggies you may have lying around the kitchen.  And by all means grab a pint of some sweet juicy grape tomatoes! Cut all the veggies and arrange in a single layers on a silpat or a baking sheet lined with parchment or non-stick cooking spray. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to all the veggies and season generously with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and dried basil. Split the squash. Place them cut side down in a dish, add about an inch of water. After letting them sit to cool a while (they are HOT!), scrape the flesh out from "stem to stern" with a fork.  It really does come out looking like pasta.  Add in the roasted veggies. Now for the sauce, chopped garlic added to EVOO and butter.  Saute for a couple of minutes. Add white wine.  Maybe half a cup or so. Add in squeezed lemon and finish off with basil, oregano, and a little red pepper flakes. Toss the veggies with the spaghetti squash "noodles" and top with with sauce. And for garnish, a little sprinkling of fresh parsley and some mozzarella cubes.

Food Nerd Notes:
Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash that is believed to be native to the Americas.  The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content. Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow or orange. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.  

Spaghetti squash contains many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.  It is a low calorie food, averaging only 42 calories per 1 cup serving.   It also is very low in fat (0.40 g, or 1 percent of the daily value (DV)). The fat content consists of 0.1 g of saturated fat and 0.2 g of the more healthy polyunsaturated fats. It also supplies a small amount of heart healthy fatty acids: omega-3 (121 mg) and omega-6 (72.8 mg). Spaghetti squash is not a complete protein, but it provides sufficient quantities of eight amino acids and gives you 1 g of protein (2 percent DV). Spaghetti squash is a great source of dietary fiber.  Just 1 cup provides 2 g, or 9 percent DV. So then, one small serving of spaghetti squash provides virtually all vitamins and minerals, with an added benefit of dietary fiber. 

Spaghetti squash can be baked, boiled, steamed, or microwaved. It can be served with or without sauce, as a substitute for pasta. For those of you who are watching your carbohydrate intake, spaghetti squash is higher in nutrients and lower in carbs and calories than pasta.  It's also a great alternative to those who shun pasta due to a sensitivity to gluten or wheat products.

 
Pasta primavera is an Italian-American dish that consists of both pasta and fresh vegetables.  Sometimes, a protein such as chicken, sausage, or shrimp is added, but the focus of primavera is the vegetables themselves. The dish may contain almost any kind of vegetable, but cooks tend to stick to firm, crisp vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, peas, onions, and green bell peppers, with tomatoes.  Pasta primavera is usually highlighted by light flavors, aromatic herbs and bright colors ('primavera' meaning the season of spring). Classic primavera sauce is based on a soffritto of garlic and olive oil, and finished with Parmesan cheese.  

Pastas served with this dish are typically smaller shapes, such as penne, farfalle, rigatoni, and fusilli. If using longer types of pasta, such as spaghetti or fettuccine, the vegetables are normally sliced in thin strips to match the shape of the noodles.  Since primavera means spring, the vegetable choices should be the crisp new vegetables of spring.

Originally, this idea of primavera as a dish is thought to have been derived from genuine Italian dishes, although under this name it is a North American dish, created in Nova Scotia and brought to New York. The irony of the story is that the creation of the primavera dish is ascribed it to Sirio Maccioni, then owner of Le Cirque (a French restaurant in Manhattan in the 1970's).  It quickly gained popularity as a special at the restaurant, and spread rapidly across the country from there.  

2 comments:

  1. Hey Julie,

    Wanted to let you know that after last night's shrimp pasta success, we decided to try this spaghetti squash for tonight's dinner. Loved this recipe as well. :)

    Bryan & Amy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fabulous! Thanks, Bryan & Amy, for trying out my recipes!

    ReplyDelete

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