Ah, fall. Squash are everywhere, and in every variety. It’s the time of year for soups, stews, chili and other things made from late crops, and I for one am just in love with the idea. Seriously, what in nature is more creamy and luscious than a roasted squash or sweet potato? Both are a perfect compliment to anything else you happen to have hangin in the oven for long periods of time, and they make the house smell fantastic!
The other thing I adore about squash is its shelf life. You can leave a squash hanging out for quite a while before you finally get to it. sometimes weeks, without worrying that it won’t just be sitting there waiting to become something wonderful. In the case of Halloween and Thanksgiving, I tend to buy them as table decoration for this week and dinner for next week. It’s perfect double-duty food, and not much makes me happier.
For this round I go to the unsung hero of the squash world, the spaghetti squash. For most people this is just a replacement for thin pasta to be used as the base for a marinara or Bolognese. In my opinion that is a crying shame. This is not pasta. it will never taste like pasta. You can’t make it taste like pasta, and why would you want to?
This dish is slightly spicy, has a wonderful texture and is the perfect compliment for a roast chicken or pork loin. It’s not heavy but it is quite filling and the flavors are nutty and sweet all at the same time. Add a little smokiness from the bacon and you’re all set! Of course you could always skip the bacon if you wanted to go vegetarian. it would still be fabulous.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 package frozen chopped turnip greens, rinsed and drained well
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
- 3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter.
- Olive oil – up to 1/4 cup to finish cooking.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce the squash with a knife or serving fork in several places and place on center rack of oven in a baking dish for 1 hour. Remove and let cool until manageable.
- Heat butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large saute pan or heavy bottomed skillet over medium flame. Saute onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until just brown, about 2 minutes. Add greens and toss to combine. Turn heat to low and cook, uncovered, for approximately 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile; Cut squash down the center. Scoop out seeds and fibrous center strands. Remove stringy flesh by scraping across grain with a large fork. Place flesh in a collander or a large bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel to drain.
- When greens are heated through and have turned a deep green, add squash to skillet. Return to medium heat, add salt and pepper and begin tossing frequently, adding olive oil as necessary to retain moisture. Stir in bacon, reserving a little for garnish. Continue tossing until entire dish is piping hot.
- Serve hot, garnish with reserved bacon.
What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:
This was almost a disaster. My pepper mill had run dry and with no time to refill while cooking, I grabbed for the pre-ground pepper. You know, the square tin? opened the wrong side and “Whoosh!” 40 pounds of black pepper. Luckily it just served to make it a bit peppery and a tad spicier than I’d wanted, but it could have been all over right there!
Other than that, perhaps a bit more butter would have been nice.
Links to other recipes like this:
- Spaghetti Squash Mexican, from Karina’s Kitchen
- Spicy, Garlicky Spaghetti Squash, from The Kitchen Sink
- Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Spinach, from yours truly