Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Is Not Pasta (and That's All Right With Me)

I keep pinning new recipes to my Pinterest Cooking board, so I have to keep trying new recipes.  I don't want my Cooking board to get too full.  Once I try a recipe, I move it to a different board.  I had found a recipe for spaghetti squash months ago but hadn't tried it.  Spaghetti squashes were on sale when I went to the grocery store so I decided to try the recipe.  I've had spaghetti squash before, but I didn't like it as a substitute for pasta.  I kind of have an issue with foods trying to be substitutes for other foods to make dishes more healthy or lower calorie (I refuse to use the word "skinny." I want to scream every time I hear that word used to describe food or drink.).  There's generally a reason I like a dish a specific way.  If I'm going to eat spaghetti squash, I'm going to eat squash--not fake pasta.

Because I can't leave well-enough alone, I started looking at more spaghetti squash recipes.  I stumbled across 2 baked dishes, one featuring squash with chard and another with squash as a Carbonara type dish.  I decided to mash-up the two recipes and see how it turned out.  They were pretty similar recipes with eggs & cheese as a base.  I love a good Carbonara dish, so I used that recipe as a start and threw in spinach (instead of chard) and some spices.

It turned out good. Lots of flavor, but not too rich or heavy.  I liked the combination of veggies with the eggs, cheese, and spices--a little rich but lots of freshness from the squash & spinach.

Here's my version of the dish:

Baked Spaghetti Squash & Spinach Carbonara

3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
4 cups uncooked baby spinach, torn into pieces
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 large eggs
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cups coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch (or similar) baking dish.

In a heavy skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat until it starts to get crispy and much of the fat is rendered off.  Pour off much of the fat.  Add the onions and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown. Add the spinach and saute until wilted. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then whisk in the ricotta. Fold in the cooked bacon, spinach, and onions, then 1/2 cup of grated cheese and the spices.

Mix the squash strings into the egg and onion mixture. Spread in the baking dish and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until firm and golden on top.  Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. I'm speechless! OK, no, I'm not. The recipe will go well with the Carnitas when you come. I'll help. Now about spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. Nope. But I do love a dish of spaghetti squash covered in homemade meat sauce. Do you want me to tell you about the tiny error? In the Carnitas post?