Are you familiar with spaghetti squash? Or maybe you have seen at the markets and wondered what it is and why it is called spaghetti squash?
Firstly it is a winter squash and is part of the general squash
(cucurbita) family. The oval yellow fruit weighs anywhere from 1.5kg upwards and when cooked the flesh can be pulled with a fork to make spaghetti-like strands.
Unfortunately, my picture of this dish does not really show the uniqueness of this vegetable! For photos taken by a better
photographer than me, head over to The Kitchn where you will find some great images and more ideas for using this vegetable.
Serve it as side dish, simply tossed with butter and freshly ground sea salt and black pepper or top with your favourite pasta sauce.
This dish came about because I had a good quantity of lovely
heirloom tomatoes and this handsome spaghetti squash, both of which Clyde Potter from The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean had
given me – they sat together on the bench for a day or so and when I looked at them one morning I thought ‘You are going to be dinner tonight!’ and this dish was the result.
Just a note about our vegetable consumption – Nagi from RecipeTin Eats commented the other day that she was “mighty impressed with how much veggies you get through” – yes we eat a heap of
vegetables and there are a couple of reasons for this. First and
foremost we are very lucky here in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand to have some wonderful growers who make the effort to grow some amazing produce – we also have a great climate. Secondly,
whenever I see something new or it is the season for something
special or unusual I feel compelled to buy it so that the grower will continue to grow it! And, thirdly, I am very lucky to have some
special relationships with many of these growers and they make sure that I (or JR) are aware of new produce they growing or
produce which has come into season. So the upshot of this is that
after a market trip our fridge is overflowing with fabulous produce that needs to be eaten!
Spaghetti Squash with Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti squash can be boiled, microwaved or roasted as I have done in this recipe.
1 medium-large spaghetti squash
grated hard cheese such as Parmesan – I used a local hard sheep cheese
CHUNKY HEIRLOOM TOMATO SAUCE
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
about 1kg heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
a good handful of basil leaves shredded
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 200°C.
2 Cut squash in half, lengthwise and using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh in the centre. Discard seeds or roast to make a tasty snack – see tip at end of recipe.
3 Place squash, cut side down, in roasting dish and bake for 30-45 minutes or until squash is very tender.
4 When cooked, remove squash from baking dish, turn cut side up and using a fork pull the flesh away from the skin, the flesh should easily separate into spaghetti-like strands
5 While the squash is cooking, make the tomato sauce. Place onion and a good drizzle of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
longer. Increase heat, add a good splash of wine, bring to
simmering and simmer to reduce.
6 Add tomatoes and tomato paste, cover bring to simmering and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes or until
tomatoes have collapsed and formed a rough sauce. Remove lid and simmer for a few minutes longer to evaporate any excess liquid. Add basil and a good grind of salt and black pepper.
To serve: Spoon sauce over squash and scatter with grated hard cheese.
To Roast Squash Seeds: Preheat oven to 150°C. Remove as much flesh as possible from the seeds, then place in a colander under cold running to remove any remaining flesh. Tip seeds on a couple of sheets of paper towel and pat dry with another sheet. Place dry seeds in a plastic bag, add a drizzle of olive oil and a good grind of sea salt and shake to coat seeds. Spread seeds, in a single layer, on a
baking tray and roast for 30-40 minutes or until seeds just start to brown.
Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Spaghetti squash, heirloom tomatoes, basil: The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean – Hastings; Garlic: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Olive oil: The Village Press – Hastings; Cheese: Origin Earth – Havelock North; Store Cupboard Ingredients: tomato paste, salt, pepper.
Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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