Monday, June 21, 2010

Do you love spaghetti?

Ah, summer.

Minutes away from its official start.
And isn't it lovely?
Birds are a-plenty.
Flowers are springing up everywhere.
The scent of barbecue is in the air.
And in just a couple of weeks, when The Long Quiche Goodbye comes out... [Yep, just a couple of weeks], I'll share a special barbecue dry rub by Charlotte's grandfather, Pépère. It's mentioned in the book, as are a number of other recipes that I'll be bringing to the blog in future weeks.

In the meantime, I tried an experiment this week. That's what has been such fun about our year-long blog. [Can you believe it? MLK's almost ready to celebrate its anniversary, thanks to all of you who are reading it and spurring us on!]

But over the past year, I've dallied with new recipes every week. Each with cheese in them. And I have to say, I've never had so much fun in the kitchen. This week, I wanted to use a vegetable that I adore and make it really sizzle. Do you love spaghetti???

Spaghetti Squash. It's an ugly thing, oblong and yellow, and hard to cut in half, but that's what you have to do in order to cook it properly.

Once you've done that, the magic begins. Spaghetti squash is exactly what it says it is. A squash that, when cooked properly, turns into spaghetti-like strands of yummy, buttery-tasting squash that can fool you into believe it's spaghetti. Fool you! Add butter and Parmessan and you'll think you're eating spaghetti and it's really a vegetable. No starch! How wonderful is that? So...be careful, use a sharp knife, and go slowly to split this gourd lengthwise down the middle.


In addition, spaghetti squash can be a main course or a salad, which is how I prepared it this week. Both ways! As a main course AND a salad, using the same ingredients in both, except I added arugula to the salad. My husband tells me the entree is one of the best things I've ever cooked.

That drew a frowning eye from me, of course, because there are lots of things I cook well. What he meant was...back-pedaling quickly...I cook lots of things well and this fell onto his favorites list. Okay, I'd accept that. He loved it. What's not to love about Italian sausage, garlic, and a squash that tastes like spaghetti?

I do this experimenting all in the name of cheese. What fun!

No, it wasn't barbecue, but we enjoyed our meal al fresco, served with a crisp Pinot Grigio, listening to the birds sing their praise of another beautiful day.


SAUSAGE AND PARMESSAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH ENTREE

Ingredients:

(serves 2)

2 cups cooked spaghetti squash

½ cup shredded Parmessan plus 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup zucchini, diced

¼ cup snow peas, diced

2 tablespoons shallots, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 tablespoons oil

1 roma tomato, diced

4 sausages – Italian

1 more tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon dried basil


Directions:

Slice open a spaghetti squash lengthwise, taking care because it’s a tough gourd and wiggles. Once open, place each half face down in a tupperware filled with one inch water. “Bake” in microwave 10 minutes. Remove from oven and scoop out the seeds. Then using a hard spoon, scoop out the meat of the squash, which will form strands like spaghetti. Set aside. * If using an oven, set both squash face down in an inch of water in a baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. [May be made a day ahead and reheated.

]

Next, in a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and add diced zucchini, snow peas, shallots, garlic, and roma tomato. Stir fry until browned on both sides.

In a second saute pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and 2 Italian sausages. Stir fry, until browned on both sides.

While they are cooking, toss warm spaghetti squash with 1 tablespoon butter and ½ cup shredded Parmessan cheese.

Set 1 cup of spaghetti squash on each plate, top with the stir-fried vegetables. Adorn with two of the sausages. Sprinkle each plate with another tablespoon of Parmessan and adorn with basil.




And now for the salad - the only difference is in presentation and the addition of ARUGULA.


SAUSAGE AND PARMESSAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH SALAD


Ingredients:

(serves 2)

2 cups cooke

d spaghetti squash

½ cup shredded Parmessan plus 2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup zucchini, diced

¼ cup snow peas, diced

2 tablespoons shallots, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

2 tablespoons oil

1 roma tomato, diced

2 sausages – Italian

1 more tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup arugula


Directions:

Slice open a spaghetti squash lengthwise, taking care because it’s a tough gourd and wiggles.

Once open, place each half face down in a tupperware filled with one inch water. “Bake” in microwave 10 minutes. Remove from oven and scoop out the seeds. Then using a hard spoon, scoop out the meat of the squash, which will form strands like spaghetti. Set aside. * If using an oven, set both squash face down in an inch of water in a baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. [May be made a day ahead and reheated.]


Next, in a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and add diced zucchini, snow peas, shallots, garlic, and roma tomato. Stir fry until browned on both sides.


In a second saute pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and 2 Italian sausages. Stir fry, until browned on both sides.


While they are cooking, toss warm spaghetti squash with 1 tablespoon butter and ½ cup shredded Parmessan cheese.


Set ½ cup of argula on each plate. Top with 1 cup of spaghetti squash, then top with the stir-fried vegetables. Adorn with 1 of the sausages, diced into bites. Sprinkle each plate with another tablespoon of Parmessan and adorn with basil.


Lest I forget, I'm running a contest and lots of people have entered, but there are lots of prizes, so if you haven't, join in the fun!


"You Be The Sleuth" Contest!

As I said above, my first book in A Cheese Shop Mystery series, The Long Quiche Goodbye, debuts July 6. To celebrate its release, I'm running a contest from June 9 to July 6! You be the sleuth! Track down the recipe on my website that includes eggs, Edam, and white pepper. Enter your answer by clicking on this link: CONTEST ENTRY FORM.

One of you will win a $25 gift certificate at your favorite bookstore. Two of you will win signed copies of The Long Quiche Goodbye. Three of you will win a Long Quiche Goodbye magnet. You can ask friends for help. Spread the word and share the fun. And while you're there, consider pre-ordering a book on my booksellers page.

Here is the link to my website to help get you started.

10 comments:

  1. What I like most about this recipe is that the ingredients are perfect serving sizes for 1-2 people. I'm adding this recipe to my collection.

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  2. This sounds tasty, healthy, and not too heavy for summer. Thanks so much for sharing it, Avery! I'm excited about the upcoming release of "The Long Quiche Goodbye!"

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  3. Happy summer, Avery! I discovered spaghetti squash this year as a matter of fact - when it was served to me as a side dish as a really great local restaurant. I did some homework, and tried making it myself. Now we *love* it here. I've usually cooked mine whole in the microwave (being careful to puncture it a bunch of times with a sharp knife first, so it won't explode of course) for six minutes, turn, six minutes. We've had it here with butter and garlic as a side dish... Fabulous. But I haven't yet used it as part of an entree. This is wonderful and we will most definitely try this soon. Another nice thing about spaghetti squash is how inexpensive it is. Healthy, delicious, reasonable, easy to prepare... just perfect!

    Julie

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  4. I'm so glad all of you enjoyed the recipe. I love the texture of spaghetti squash. It's "meaty."

    Have a great day!

    ~Avery

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  5. I am a huge spaghetti fan. I tried spaghetti squash once with just butter and Parmesan cheese, but this sounds so much better. Can't wait to try both recipes. Thanks for being so creative!

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  6. You know what is also good? Adding spaghetti sauce to spaghetti squash. Again, try out all the recipes you've made for spaghetti and you'll be surprised how versatile this is. EXPERIMENTATION is the key! Have fun.
    By the way, I'm a guest on the Barnes and Noble online bookclub all this week. Hope you'll come take a look at the Q&A.
    ~Avery

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  7. Oh, I used to love making spaghetti squash, but I got out of the habit. Thank you for the great reminder. With your two recipes to inspire me, I'll be picking one up on my next trip to the grocery. Counting down the days to THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE!

    Cheers,
    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Coffee Drawing LIVE today at 7 PM (Eastern time)
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

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  8. I've never done much with spaghetti squash. These ideas look so good I think I'll have to give them a try!

    ~ Krista

    ReplyDelete