I stumbled across spaghetti squash the other day and thought it would be fun to create a recipe around it. Spaghetti squash lives up to it’s name in that once you have roasted it (I simply cut it in half length ways then added a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper) you use a fork to scoop out the flesh and it comes out looking like little spaghetti strands. You could easily substitute it for spaghetti in fact, although it tastes like squash and not pasta. Please note when you cut into the raw spaghetti squash it is slightly harder than your regular squash so do be careful when handling the knife.
A great friend was coming over for lunch so I wanted to cook something straightforward, comforting and easy to assemble. The squash takes about 40 minutes in the oven, but does not need any attending to once it is in the oven. I opted for polenta (bramata) which takes a couple of minutes max to whip together. Any form of greens is always a great addition to any meal so I opted for cavolo nero, but you could easily use spinach, green cabbage, shard. I took a photo of all the ingredients but once I had thrown the dish together I realised it needed a splash of colour and one other flavour to bring it all together. So I opted for some sundried tomatoes, which completely lifted the whole dish. Also in my haste to photograph and then devour the meal, I completely forgot to place the crispy sage leaves on the top, so if you can try to remember to do this bit.
The dish came together so well and is perfect for this time of year, when the days are crisp and you come in from the cold. When you make the dish, photograph it and then use the #chilliandmint so I can see your efforts.
Polenta with Cav0lo Nero, Spaghetti Squash, Parmesan and Sundried Tomatoes
1 spaghetti squash, halved
145g polenta bramata (course cornmeal)
45g parmesan, finely grated
25ml single cream (optional)
4 cavolo nero leaves, finely chopped
8 fresh sage leaves
3 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Carefully cut the squash in two and place on a baking tray with a little olive oil and seasoning. Place an oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.
- Whilst the squash is in the oven, add a little olive oil to a pan and when it is hot add the sage leaves and allow to crisp up, which should take around a minute. Remove and place on kitchen paper.
- Wash the cavalo nero leaves and finely chop. Heat a pan and place them in the pan for a couple of minutes to allow them to wilt. Remove from the heat and place to one side.
- Once the squash is cooked (40 minutes) remove from an oven and using a fork take the flesh out of the squash. It will come away in strands giving it the name ‘spaghetti squash’.
- Roughly chop the sundried tomatoes and have the parmesan grated and ready to use.
- Boil the water in a deep pan and when it is boiling gradually pour in the polenta stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
- Immediately add the parmesan, single cream (if using), butter, salt pepper to taste and stir. *
- To plate up place a generous portion of polenta on a plate then add some cavolo nero and place it in the centre followed by the spaghetti squash, a little parmesan, sundried tomatoes and the crispy sage**.
* The longer you heat polenta the harder it will become so take off the heat at the consistency you desire. Personally I prefer my softer.
**After the excitement of platting up and photographing the dish I dived into eat it, only remembering once I had eaten it that I had forgotten to put on the crispy sage.