Acorn Squash with Sesame Soy Sauce

Acorn Squash with Sesame Parsley Sauce

Sweet, sunshine-y acorn squash is spiced up with a sweet and sassy sesame tahini sauce in this delicious side dish recipe. My deep love for squash has me searching high and low for unique recipes, this is one that I didn’t have to think twice about trying.

Acorn squash is roasted to bring out the nuttiness and natural sugars, then a fast and easy sauce is made by combining tahini paste with soy sauce, honey and green onion. A burst of brightness comes from the addition of fresh parsley. The sauce has a deep, rich intense flavor with sweet and savory notes that pair well with the mildness of the squash.

The sauce would go well with just about any type of winter squash and would be good with the heat of chile peppers too, or made with peanut butter or a nut butter.

Acorn Squash with Sesame Soy Sauce
(adapted from Christina Cooks)
1 acorn squash
4 green onions, chopped
2/3 cup spring or filtered water
2-3 teaspoons honey
soy sauce (without corn syrup)
1/4 cup parsley, fresh, minced
1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in a roasting pan and bake until tender, about 45 minutes depending on size.

2. When squash is cooked prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan simmer the green onions in the water until bright green, about 3 minutes. Whisk in sesame tahini and honey, season lightly with soy sauce (start with 1 teaspoon). Simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and add more soy sauce if desired, if too thick whisk in more water. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

3. Cut the acorn squash into half rings and spoon sauce over top of each, sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

*I used homemade tahini.

Acorn Squash With Sesame Parsley Sauce

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Brown Butter Spaghetti Squash with Fried Eggs

Brown Butter Spaghetti Squash with Fried Eggs

This recipe is built around butter. Copious amounts of butter for which there is no substitute. Brown butter is an indulgence you must experience to understand and fully appreciate. Kind of nutty, with a deep, rich, savory flavor that’s incredibly delicious. It’s made just the way it sounds, by cooking butter until it turns a caramel color. Here, this step is done with almonds, infusing all of it’s deep, buttery goodness into the nuts and vice versa.

My love for spaghetti squash is no secret, subbing it for the fettuccine in the original recipe was a natural as I had some on hand and already cooked, just calling out for a drizzle of brown butter and a blanket of freshly fried egg. Along with the crunchy almonds and salty Parmesan cheese, the egg takes it over the top with it’s gooey, fatty yolk making for an immensely comforting and deeply satisfying meal.

Brown Butter Spaghetti with Fried Eggs, Almonds and Parmesan

Brown Butter Spaghetti with Fried Eggs
(adapted from Saveur)
Kosher salt, to taste
1 large spaghetti squash, cooked or 8-12 ounces fettuccine or tagliatelle
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3⁄4 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
4 eggs
fresh black pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
nutmeg, fresh grated, optional

1. If using pasta cook according to package directions in plenty of salted water. Drain reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

2. Meanwhile melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.

3. Crack eggs into butter and cook, two at a time, spooning butter over yolks, until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Transfer eggs to a plate and keep warm. Add squash or pasta and half the pine nuts to skillet and toss. If using pasta, stir in some of the pasta water to create a sauce, and season well with salt and pepper.

4. To serve top squash or pasta with a fried egg, sprinkle with nuts, Parmesan, and nutmeg, if desired.

Serves 4

In French cooking brown butter is called a ‘beurre noisette’ or hazelnut butter.

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Spaghetti Squash and Mini Meatball Soup with Roasted Red Peppers

Spaghetti Squash and Mini Meatball Soup

No matter how often I cook spaghetti squash it never fails to impress me. Pulling my fork through the golden sunshine colored flesh and watching it turn into spaghetti strands makes me feel like I can do anything. It’s nothing short of a magic trick to split open a squash and find spaghetti inside! Who knew you could grow spaghetti on a vine? It’s one of natures miracles. One I’m very grateful for because I could eat it every day of my life and never grow tired of it.

There is one way I don’t like it and that’s when it’s treated like traditional spaghetti and smothered in tomato sauce. Because the resemblance to spaghetti is about as far as it goes. It differs in texture and flavor. While some spaghetti squash are very bland you may find others have a hint of lemon flavor to them. Depending on how well done their cooked, the strands can have a bit of crispness that pops between your teeth, not at all like the soft, chewiness of spaghetti.

The broth is drenched with the flavor of aromatics including onion, garlic, roasted red and green bell peppers. It is the perfect backdrop for the tender little orbs of mini meatball deliciousness and the squash spaghetti which makes up the bulk of the soup by adding great body and texture. My father was quite impressed with the entire concept and summed things up best when he asked “Who else do you know that is making spaghetti squash and meatball soup?” A quick Google search turned up nothing, making it a truly unique original that I hope I’ve inspired you to try!

Spaghetti Squash and Mini Meatball Soup

Spaghetti Squash and Mini Meatball Soup
(by Reeni)
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin in 1/2-inch long pieces
olive oil, for sauteing
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 roasted red pepper, sliced thin in 1/2-inch long pieces
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 + 1/4 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
4 cups chicken broth
Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated, for serving

1. Roast the spaghetti squash on 400 degrees F. Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and place it face down in a baking pan. Add about an inch of water to the pan. A medium-sized spaghetti squash will take 35 – 40 minutes. It will be fork-tender when done and the skin will ‘wrinkle’ up.

2. In a large soup pot or sauce pan saute onion and green pepper in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat until onion is translucent and pepper is tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add roasted red pepper, thyme and the bay leaf. Season well with salt and pepper and continue sauteing for 3-4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile make the meatballs. In a large bowl using a fork combine ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Form them into tiny meatballs about 1-inch in size and place on a plate.

4. Turn the squash into spaghetti by using a fork to pull the strands apart. Add to the pot along with the chicken broth. Bring to a slow boil then carefully add the meatballs one by one. Season with additional salt and pepper. Simmer slowly for 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Taste and season again if needed. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Spaghetti Squash and Mini Meatball Soup

Don’t forget to link up your Thanksgiving side dishes for the Showdown!

I’m sending this to my lovely friend Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays round-up!

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Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

I can think of no better way to welcome in fall than with this pasta tossed in squash ‘sauce’ with shrimp, garlic and basil. When my eyes fell upon the glorious piles of multi-colored winter squash newly laid out in the market I did a little happy dance right then and there. I love this small window of time when the seasonal produce available overlaps. Farm fresh zucchini and butternut all in the same shopping trip? Life is good.

The sweet and salty sauce is made with roasted butternut and acorn squash pureed with Parmesan cheese and light heavy cream or milk. You have total control over the consistency of the sauce. Thin or thick, smooth or chunky, you decide. There’s a chance you may be thinking that shrimp and squash are weird together, but don’t. Because they’re not. The shrimp are pan-fried with garlic and then everything is tossed together with fresh basil for a well rounded meal that’s a cinch to make.

The acorn squash colors the sauce so that it mimics mac and cheese. It’s tricky. Mild-flavored, rich and creamy, with chewy pasta and succulent shrimp, this is a near perfect bowl of pasta to curl up with on a crisp fall night.

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

1 small butternut squash, halved, cleaned of seeds
1 small acorn squash, halved, cleaned of seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
sea or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces pasta (like barila whole grain rotini or penne)
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off
1 cup light heavy cream or milk, plus more if needed
1/4 cup Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until fork tender. The acorn squash might cook quicker, remove carefully to a plate and set aside.

2.  When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash and add it to a blender of a large food processor. Add the cream and Parmesan, puree until smooth. Add as much milk as needed for a nice creamy consistency, as thin or as thick as you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water to al dente according to package directions.

4. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat 2-3 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, carefully add prawns, season with salt and pepper and cook until pink, tossing a few times, about 3 minutes, depending on size. Remove from heat.

5. Drain the pasta and add back to the pan along with the squash, prawns and basil. Toss well over low heat, adding more cream if needed. Serve immediately.

Printable Recipe

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

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What do you like best about fall? Let me know in your comment.

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Lemon Ricotta Penne with Yellow Squash

Lemon Ricotta Penne with Yellow Squash

This is a fast and delicious recipe for penne dressed up in a zingy lemon ricotta sauce and tossed with smoky yellow squash. It requires minimal ingredients and with fast chopping skills can be on the table in a half hour or less.

Squash slices are quickly cooked under the broiler while the pasta cooks and the sauce is whisked together using ricotta, lemon zest and juice along with a little pasta water.

Lemon Ricotta Penne with Yellow Squash

Short on time…Simple to make…But big on taste with lemon being the stand-out flavor. The milky ricotta balances out the tartness so it won’t make you pucker! But it will make you smile…it’s like sunshine on a plate.

Lemon Ricotta Penne with Yellow Squash

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Lemon Ricotta Penne with Yellow Squash
(by Reeni)(Serves 4)
2 Yellow Squash, peeled and sliced into rounds*
Olive oil
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
8 ounces Penne Pasta (like Barila Whole Grain)
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup Pasta water
Fresh Basil, chopped, for serving
Parmesan Cheese, for serving
1. Heat broiler. On a large baking pan spread out squash. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil on second closest rack to broiler. Keep a close eye on them, checking every minute or so. When they are browned remove pan and turn slices. Return to broiler until browned.
2. Meanwhile cook the penne in plenty of salted water to al dente according to package directions. In a medium mixing bowl whisk ricotta with lemon peel and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in the pasta water.
3. In a large bowl toss the penne with the ricotta mixture, add squash and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
* Slice as thick as you like. I like them them on the thin side – about 1/3 inch thick.

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Lemon Ricotta Penne with Yellow Squash

Keep your dishes for the July Showdown coming – add your links here!

I’m sending this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Daphne of More Than Words this week.

I’m also linking to this to Two For Tuesdays: Celebrate Real Food hosted by Heather over at Girlichef.

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Spinach and Pasta Stuffed Squash Hearts

Spinach & Pasta Stuffed Acorn Squash Hearts

Stuffed squash is a dish I can’t help but revisit time and time again. It’s a combination of two of my favorites: squash and one-dish meals. It’s like a casserole all in itself with the squash as the baking vessel. This version is incredibly delicious with the stuffing made of fresh spinach sauteed in onion and garlic, spiral Rotini, creamy ricotta, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese and walnuts. It’s a wonderful array of textures and tastes. And a pasta that can stand up for itself all on its own. The pasta can be baked in a pan instead of in the squash. I would double the recipe.

I thoroughly enjoyed this as my main dish and happily satisfied. Put it to work as a side dish if you have hearty eaters who require meat as part of their meal. Adding cooked hunks of chicken, sausage, or even shrimp would only improve upon it. Sitting down with one of these ‘hearts’ on my plate just makes my day better.

Spinach & Pasta Stuffed Squash

I stuffed an acorn and a butternut. I preferred the acorn, the butternut was drier, denser and didn’t work as well with the filling. I carved out an extra ‘cavity’ in the butternut, because they were so small. The acorn is able to hold more filling.

Spinach & Pasta Stuffed Butternut Squash

Pasta and Spinach Stuffed Squash
(by Reeni)

2 Squash(Acorn works best for this)
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
4 cups Fresh Spinach leaves, rough-chopped
2 cups Pasta, dried,(I used Rotini, whole-wheat)
1/4 cup Pasta Water
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan, divided
Nutmeg, a couple of dashes or grates if using fresh
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs(I used cornflake)
2 tablespoon Butter, plus more to serve

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and clean out seeds. Put them face down in a pan, add 2 inches of water. Bake for 25 minutes.

2. Cooke the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Make sure to set aside 1/4 cup of the pasta water when draining.

3. In the mean time saute the onion and in a large skillet over medium-low heat in a tablespoon of Olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. When the onion is soft and translucent add the garlic, saute until fragrant. Add spinach, put a lid on the pan for three to four minutes. Remove lid and continue to saute the wilted spinach until tender.

4. In a medium bowl beat the egg and mix well with the Ricotta and parsley. Add spinach mixture, pasta, lemon juice, nutmeg, all of the Parmesan but 2 tablespoons, all of the walnuts but 2 tablespoons, and 1/2 of the pasta water. Mixture should be on the thick side, if it seems too thick add in the rest of the reserved pasta water.

5. In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, reserved Parmesan, and walnuts. Set aside.

6. Remove squash and let cool off enough to handle. Turn oven down to 375. Turn the squash over right in the pan. Drain the water. Divide the filling equally among the squash. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and add a pat of butter to each top.

7. Bake for 20 minutes.

8. Serve with butter or a drizzle of Olive oil.

Printable Recipe

Spinach & Pasta Stuffed Squash

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon Garlic Sauce and Ricotta

Spaghetti Squash

Last winter was the first time I can remember ever eating Spaghetti squash. Mom and Dad both said they didn’t like it which is probably why I don’t have any memories of eating it. I’ve heard a lot of people claim that it tastes just like spaghetti. But I disagree. It’s a healthy and delicious alternative and it mimics spaghetti strands. But that’s as far as the similarities go. What it lacks is taste. What it has is texture. When cooked to ‘al dente’ it is firmer than spaghetti and kind of ‘pops’ between your teeth. What this also means is if you want your family to eat it you have to really jazz it up with flavors they like in order to give it universal appeal.

This is a really simple and quick sauce that is just bursting with the flavors of sunshine. Sauteed garlic and lemon peel are combined with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, a bit of butter, and fresh, peppery basil to make a bright and zesty sauce. A generous amount of Ricotta is spooned over the top – the icing on the cake and the key to really putting this over the top. I promise your family will eat their veggies and love them! Now that I’ve discovered spaghetti squash I can’t imagine not eating it on a steady basis when it’s in season. It makes the perfect side dish for just about any kind of meat, although I could eat it all on its own and be satisfied. As for Mom and Dad? They like it now!

Spaghetti Squash

This is truly one of nature’s wonders. A squash that starts it’s life looking like any other squash on the block but with a secret. I wonder which came first? Spaghetti squash, the vegetable, or spaghetti noodles, the grain?

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash w/ Lemon Garlic Sauce & Ricotta
(by Reeni)

1 Spaghetti Squash, about 4 pounds
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Lemon Peel
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
Parmesan, fresh grated for serving

Preheat oven to 375.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Place cut side down in a baking dish. Fill with water about 1/2 way up the side of the squash. Roast for about 45 minutes to an hour or until squash is tender. Check by poking it with a fork. Set aside and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

While the squash is cooling make the sauce. Saute the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat until tender and fragrant. Add the lemon peel and saute for a minute or two. Add olive oil, lemon juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk and bring to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter and bring back up to a simmer. Remove from heat. Whisk in basil. Taste and re-season if needed.

Use a spoon to scrape the seeds from the squash. Pull a fork through the squash lengthwise to shred the squash into strands. Leave the strands right in the squash as a serving vessel or remove to a large serving bowl.

Pour the lemon sauce evenly over the squash. Dollop the top with Ricotta. Serve with fresh Parmesan.

Printable Recipe

Spaghetti Squash

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