© Chef Michael Smith 2019
Spaghetti squash is known for its distinctive inner threads and their unique resemblance to cooked pasta. That unique texture and sweet flavour anchor this dish and its group of familiar Mediterranean flavours. I love the convenience of the one baking-pan method too. A tasty and easy way to fill Half Your Plate!
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 with leftovers
For the baking pan
1 spaghetti squash
2 lbs. of cherry tomatoes
4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 teaspoons of sea salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
For the Salad
2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 more tablespoons of your best olive oil
1 tablespoon of your favourite mustard
1 tablespoon of honey
a large bunch of fresh basil leaves, 40g package
1 cup of pine nuts
4 ounces of grated Parmigiano Reggianocheese
Prepare and preheat your oven to 350°. Set to roast and turn on your convection fan if you have one. Ready an 18” by 13” baking pan or the like.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Use a dinner spoon to scoop out the inner seeds and the fibers around them. Evenly drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each squash half and season with a teaspoon of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Position the squash cut-side down on one end of a large baking pan.
Toss the tomatoes with 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and lots of pepper. Fill the other end of the pan and place the works in the oven. Roast until the squash is steamed tender and the tomatoes have roasted and caramelized, about an hour. Remove and rest until the juices settle and it’s cool enough to handle, 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile whisk together the dressing of vinegar, oil, mustard and honey. Use a dinner spoon to scoop the tender squash from the shells into a large salad bowl. Add the tomatoes and as much of their juices as you can. Add the pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, Parmesan cheese and dressing. Gently toss the works to combine. Serve and share.
The trick to cooking spaghetti squash is to use its own moisture to steam it. Roasting the halves face down on the tray contains their moisture so it can tenderize the sweet flesh. | A pro-sized baking tray is a game changer. Preparing an entire meal on just one 18×13 tray is a breeze for prep and clean up. Professional cooks use what are known as half-sheet pans to stay organized, so can you. | As you cook the squash and tomatoes you may brown and blacken some of their juices. That’s a sign of success though, not defeat. That kind of heat means the rest of the works will more than make up for any loss with extra deliciousness!