I love reading cooking magazines and cookbooks. I’m completely fascinated with people and the food they make and eat. I especially like the stories that usually accompany the oft used and well-loved recipes we all keep tucked away. You know the ones, where the cookbook falls open to the most splattered page, the faded, hastily penciled scrap of paper, or the one you can make while humming, or talking because your hands just know what to do without too much thought. This recipe will become one of those for me. It comes from an article in Food and Wine magazine about a group of men (The FourCoursemen) in Athens, Georgia whose love of cooking and food brought them together to cook, and who now host an underground supper club. I’ve always wanted to attend one of those dinners, and I found their journey and recipes inspiring. This recipe jumped out at me. I love spaghetti squash, but I’ve found my approach to making it rather limited, the usual tomato sauce, or just butter and parmesan, occasionally mixed in with other veggies. But this recipe had me thinking. I didn’t make his recipe verbatim, but followed his general lead and OMG! I can’t wait to make it as he created it, because my little simplified version is just super. His full scale version must be spectacular. I was talking to my sister on the phone while I was mixing it all together and taking the pictures. I finally got to put a bite in my mouth and I’m pretty sure I actually moaned and made unintelligible sounds for a minute. I’m also pretty sure that she’ll be making this tomorrow due to listening to that reaction! As soon as I was off the phone I sat right down and ate almost half of it. Seriously, make this. I think you’ll find that spaghetti squash will be a fixture in your house. I know that it will be in mine.
I used a small, maybe 1-1/2 pound squash, what I called personal size. So depending on the size you use, you can scale the recipe up to match.
1 small spaghetti squash
1 cup of water
1/4 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cracked
1/4 cup of pine nuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, sage & rosemary)
2 – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for initial drizzle for baking
1/4 cup crumbled Ricotta Salata cheese
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 350. In a dry skillet, toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Watch carefully, they burn quickly. Cut squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle cut sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet with a garlic clove under each side. Pour water and wine around the squash and bake for approx. 45 minutes. The squash should be soft to the touch, but not collapsing on itself. Remove from oven, turn cut side up, discard garlic cloves and let cool until you can handle it. Using a fork, gently scrape lengthwise along inside of squash, separating the strands and place in a bowl. Gently mix in fresh herbs, the crumbled cheese, the pine nuts, and oil. Taste for seasoning, the cheese is salty, but it might need a bit more.
I can’t tell you enough how good this is. Fresh, yet rich at the same time. Each ingredient distinctive, yet melding together in satisfying mix. It has texture but melts. Thank you, thank you, Patrick Stubbers & the other FourCoursemen!
Note: I would start with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the oil, and increase as you need. You should be able to taste it, but not have an oily puddle at the bottom. It should just meld the other ingredients together.
Very loosely adapted from The FourCourseman’s Patrick Stubbers recipe in Food and Wine. Here’s the link again, check out their other recipes. These guys rock!