Monday, December 1, 2008

Saucy Squash with a Kick

Beef and Peppers with Spaghetti Squash

I often grab lunch at a food co-op manned by my university's most militant vegetarians. Sometimes they come up with something really tasty, but as I ate their variation of this dish, I couldn't help but think "You know what would make this even better? Meat!"

Different recipes will advise you to roast the spaghetti squash for anywhere from 30minutes to an hour. I think 30-40 minutes should be fine for a small squash. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, rub it in oil and turn the halves open-end down on a cookie sheet for roasting. Then scrape out the long, spaghetti-like fibers with a fork. I crumbled some queso fresco, a mild farmer's cheese, over the squash before topping it with the beef and peppers in their rich, spicy tomato sauce.

It would be easy enough to omit the beef and keep things vegetarian. And I also suppose this dish is quite low-carb, though I can't abide by low-carb diets. It's healthy, colorful, and made quite a nice presentation. If you don't count the cookie sheet, it's also a one pot meal, and was ready to eat in under 45 minutes. With all these points to recommend it, I suggest you try making some yourself. Mine didn't even last long enough for me to take a picture once it hit the table.

Beef and Peppers with Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash (allow 1/2 squash per person)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 lb stir-fry beef, in slices
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tsp aleppo pepper (or 1/4 tsp cayenne)
1/4 cup queso fresco (or ricotta cheese)

Roast squash for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. While the squash is cooking, sautee the garlic in oil until golden brown. Add the peppers and onions and sautee until lightly browned, then add the beef. Let the beef get only slightly brown so as not to overcook it, then add the tomatoes, paste, red wine and other seasonings. Add sugar to taste if needed. Fresh basil will also improve this dish if you have it. Cook the beef until just pink at the center, or until the red wine has cooked into the dish. Once the squash is cooked, it will yield to a fork- the flesh will break into fibers resembling spaghetti. Arrange the flesh on a plate and sprinkle with the cheese, then pour over a generous helping of beef, peppers and sauce.

1 comment:

adele said...

Interesting. I've stayed away from spaghetti squash since my time living in the Zu, but this does sound pretty tasty.