Friday, 11 February 2011

A Tale of Two Spaghetti Squash Dishes

Well I did some experimenting with a spaghetti squash this week, and although it all came out reasonably edible, it wasn't fabulous. The problem - and I've had this problem before with spaghetti squash - is that it was just incurably soggy. I thought I would try it as a "Pad Thai" first of all, and although I was pretty happy with the sauce - 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, 4 tablespoons apple butter, 1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce and the juice of 1 lemon - the dish was just mushy, even when I used half barely-soaked rice noodles instead of all spaghetti squash. It would go well with just noodles, and cabbage, bean sprouts, mushrooms, onion and carrots for the vegetable portion. I guess that's what I'll try next. I don't think this would have worked even with a squash that was drier in texture, as some of them are (and should be). I had a particularly damp one for some reason this time.

This dish was even more homely, but it worked better. It was still rather moist, but somehow as a casserole it was more acceptable. It would be worth doing again, especially with a somewhat better specimen of squash. I'll write out what I did here:

4 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - 30 minutes prep time not including baking the squash

4 cups cooked spaghetti squash (about 1/2 large)
100 grams whole rice vermicelli, soaked in cold water until barely pliable
450 grams (1 pound) bulk sausage
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
2 cups chopped cabbage
2 cups quartered button mushrooms
a little oil
3 cups tomato sauce

Cook the squash and let cool enough to handle. Discard the seeds and gunk from the centre, and pull out the strands with a fork. Spread out to dry a bit on a tray while you prepare the rest.

Soak the vermicelli until just pliable, drain it well and snip it into manageable sections. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Peel and grate the carrot, chop the cabbage and clean and quarter the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and cook the onions and carrot until soft in a bit of oil. Put them in a 9" x 11" casserole (lasagne pan). Repeat with the cabbage and mushrooms. Then, cook the sausage, breaking it up into lumps. Add it to the casserole, with the squash, vermicelli and tomato sauce, and mix well. Bake for 45 minutes, until very hot through.

Last year at this time I made Beefy Winter Borsch and Blood Orange Tapioca Pudding.

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