Vegged-Out Spaghetti Squash
This recipe features my favorite fresh tomato sauce. It’s a Lidia Bastianich recipe. The sauce itself is extremely simple to prepare, but there is a bit of time consuming work involved in prepping the tomatoes. Trust me when I say that it’s totally worth it. Especially if you are able to get farm fresh tomatoes in the summer. The rest of the dish is all about showcasing freshness as well. Any combo of your favorite veggies will work just as well as the ones I used. This type of dish is a nice pasta replacement for gluten-free folks or peeps avoiding flour or limiting carbs.
2 1/2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
3 1/2 pound spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
1 large orange bell pepper, de-ribbed and chopped
3/4 pound large crimini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 medium zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and cut into chunks
1 can (15-ounces) butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup golden grape tomatoes, halved
10 black cerignola olives, pits removed and sliced
8 large basil leaves
small wedge of Parmesan cheese
Step One: For the sauce, with the point of a paring knife cut out and discard the stem bases of the tomatoes, removing small cones about 1/4-inch deep, then lightly cut X-shapes on the tomatoes’ opposite ends.
Step Two: Bring water to a boil in a large pot, drop in the tomatoes, and cook 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a colander, run cold water over them, and slip their skins off with your fingers.
Step Three: In a nonreactive saucepan, lightly sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, crushing each directly over the pan as it is added. Season to taste and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step Four: For the spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 375°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Pierce skin side of squash halves multiple times with the tines of a fork. Place squash flesh down in a shallow baking pan large enough that both halves lay flush. Add 2 inches of water, cover, and bake until squash separates into tender strands when run across with a fork, about 40-50 minutes. Allow to cool before handling further.
Step Five: For the veggies, in a large pan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté until both are soft and fragrant. Add mushrooms and zucchini and sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, beans, and olives and allow to heat through.
Step Six: Use a fork to separate spaghetti squash strands into a large serving dish. Add sauce and gently mix well. Top with vegetable mixture, basil leaves torn into pieces or cut using a chiffonade technique, and fresh shaved Parmesan.
Source: Sauce slightly modified from “Fresh Tomato Sauce,” La Cucina di Lidia by Lidia Bastianich (Clarkson Potter, 2003). View the recipe on LidiasItaly.com. View the book on Amazon.com. Remainder of recipe a Robot Heart Recipes Original.
Early Summer Pea, Corn, and Green Bean Salad
Here in the beautiful but stubborn Pacific Northwest summer is slow to start. The unwritten rule is that true summer weather typically doesn’t kick in and stick around until after the 4th of July holiday. However, we have had enough temporary glimpses of warm weather that the farmers markets and grocery stores selling locally grown produce are starting to have some nice offerings. I was inspired to create this salad from a combo of lovely fresh peas and corn that I stumbled across on my shopping trip. I really loved it! It was incredibly fresh, perfect for a sunny summer lunch, picnic, or light dinner. The contrast of the sweet corn and the zippy lemon served to highlight the delicate peas for and all around serious yum factor. As a bonus, it was also a no-brainer where prep is concerned.
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into medium pieces
1 pound English peas, shelled
2 ears tri-color corn, kernels removed from cobs
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced and washed
1 large shallot, minced
juice and zest of one large lemon
one large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Step One: Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately run under very cold water or place into an ice bath.
Step Two: Allow water to return to a boil and add peas and corn. Cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. (Larger peas may take longer to cook). Use a colander to drain and immediately run under very cold water or place into an ice bath.
Step Three: Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add leeks and shallot and sauté until soft and tender, about 5-6 minutes.
Step Four: Place cooked vegetables and leek-shallot mixture into a large bowl. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with lemon zest and parsley and serve.
Source: A Robot Heart Recipes Original.