Monday, June 8, 2015

Using your Noodle - Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef



Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
 
Something that is a bit of a pet peeve of mine is when you see something presenting as a ‘healthy version’ of a dish by replacing the main ingredient that makes it the original dish – but still calls it the original. Like a “burger”  or ‘taco’ which uses lettuce leaves instead of a bun or tortillas. Those are lettuce leaf wraps, or even a fusion version of san choy bau. I am happy to eat them, happy for them to be a dish but don’t try and trick me by calling it a burger or a taco. Or anything called a cheesecake that doesn’t contain cheese. I love cashew cream, and the various versions of nut cake that try to simulate the cheesecake texture…but they are an entirely different category of cake!

The other main one is spaghetti using zucchini. I love zucchini ‘noodles’ as a side dish. I’ve had a huge variety of dishes with the zucchini prepared this way that have been tasty ways of eating the vegetable…but no matter how hard you try convince me otherwise, they are not a replacement for flour and egg noodles. It is not spaghetti. Call it something else. Please!

Given my mini-rant, this dish might be confusing at first because it is buttered spaghetti squash. But I am not trying to trick you into thinking it is a low-carb or gluten-free version of buttered noodles. That’s just the variety of squash that I used. Spaghetti squash aren’t hugely common in Perth although the ones I buy are grown in the Southern Forests Region (I get mine from the Nanna Shop), and they are named for the flesh that when roasted, you can pull it into strands that look, well, spaghetti-like. But, make no mistake. This is a delicious vegetable dish, it is not pasta. Although, you could make this a pasta dish by subbing in noodles for the squash.

If you can’t find a spaghetti squash, you can use Kent or butternut pumpkin diced into 1-2cm cubes and roasted until tender but not falling apart. This dish uses half a spaghetti squash, but I tend to roast a whole one each time, then use the leftover shredded flesh in another dish. Bresaola is a smoked meat you can find in good delis amongst the other cold meats. If you can’t get hold of any, prosciutto or bacon diced up and fried would work well.

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef

1 spaghetti squash
6 slices bresaola, cut into strips (if you can’t find, sub prosciutto or bacon)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
1 brown onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
9 olives stuffed with pimento, sliced into rounds
5 prunes, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
To serve
Toasted pistachios, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 175C. Cut the spaghetti squash down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Drizzle a little olive oil on the cut flesh of the squash and rub it over to distribute and coat thinly. Place, cut side down onto the baking tray and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool enough to handle.

Slice the bresaola into strips, and place into a frypan over medium heat. Cook, stirring here and there for around 2 minutes, or until some of the fat renders out, and it crisps and curls up in parts. Remove to a paper towel lined tray and set aside.

In the same pan, add the olive oil and butter, allow the butter to melt. Add the onion moons and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until translucent, 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue cooking until the onions become a nice golden colour, around 20 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, pull the spaghetti squash flesh into strands with a fork. Put half away in a container in the fridge for another use. The other half, stir through the buttery onions, ensuring it is all well coated. Then add the olives, prunes and bresaola and stir to evenly distribute. Check for seasoning, then serve with chopped pistachios.
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef
Spaghetti Squash with Olives, Prunes and Smoked Beef