Spaghetti squash, which separates into spaghetti-like strands when cooked, is an excellent base for this easy salad from The FourCoursemen's Patrick Stubbers. The recipe would also be good with roasted cubes of butternut squash.
Main Course Salads
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 large spaghetti squash (9 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
4 ounces queso fresco or ricotta salata, crumbled (1 cup)
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and bake for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Arrange the spaghetti squash halves cut sides up on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip the squash cut sides down and pour the water and wine into the pans. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the squash is barely tender. Flip the squash cut sides up and let cool until warm.
In a small bowl, combine the white wine vinegar with the lemon zest and lemon juice, thyme and crushed red pepper. Whisk in the 2/3 cup of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
Working over a large bowl, using a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash, separating the strands. Pour the dressing over the squash and toss to coat. Add the tarragon, queso fresco and pine nuts and toss again. Serve right away.
The cooked spaghetti squash can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before dressing.
Nancy Palmer, a member of The Four Coursemen supper club, poured a citrusy Vinho Verde from Portugal with this spaghetti squash salad. She explains, "It whets the palate without weighing it down.".
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