This dish is so tasty that you will forget that you are eating mainly vegetables - a great lighter alternative to the heavy starch-based winter 'comfort' foods.
|Spaghetti Squash with Proscutto & Parmesan in a tangy orange sauce|
Fall and winter just beg us to eat warm, hearty, comforting food to get the chill from our bones. This dish is a real treat that is both warm and comforting. Growing up, we would have had peas, ham, and noodles all in one meal. I've taken these classic ingredients and upscaled them a bit to make a delicious looking and tasting dish.
I will also mention that I 'cheated' a little on my ingredients (this was made in December, I am just now publishing it). I went to a holiday work social which had a lot of fancy appetizers - a meat and cheese tray being one of them. The event organizers ordered a lot more food than we could consumer, and the waiters brought out take-away boxes at the end of the event, which I thought was interesting and a bit unusual. Knowing that hard cheeses (aged parmesan) and the prosciutto could survive sitting out at room temperature for 2 hours during the event, I felt micro-safe to take some home with me. I did eat some of the meat/cheese with crackers, but decided that I might have more fun putting them into a dish, and that is how this dish was born.
I love using EVERYTHING in the kitchen, and I have a personal vendetta about letting my fruit and veg go to waste. It makes for a creative challenge - in this test, I had previously purchased a box of clementine oranges. However, I find it really difficult to get through the entire box of them (which is a side note - but begs the question of grocery stores - why do you have to sell clementines in those massive boxes? what happened to choosing the amount that you want like every other fruit??).
After buying a box, I normally end up with about 5 lonely clementines left and I'm just so tired of eating them, no matter how easy they are to peel. In this recipe, I squeezed them to get the juice and also got some pulp as well to give a great fresh, tangy taste to the dish. Normally a Hollandaise sauce uses lemon juice to create the pH shift to give the creaminess, but I knew that OJ would also add that acid that I needed.
My twist on several classic ingredients:
- Prosciutto (dry cured ham) instead of ham steak
- Spaghetti squash instead of noodles (Gluten free!)
- Peas in the dish instead of beside
- Orange (clementine) juice instead of lemon juice for a sweeter, less acid tang; the sauce is a blend between a hollandaise & white sauce (Hollandaise from the egg & orange juice, white sauce because it starts as a roux).
Step 1: Cook the spaghetti squash
|The inside of a spaghetti squash|
To cook your spaghetti squash - (1 large spaghetti squash)
Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Place in a microwave safe dish, cut side down and add a little bit of water. The water will create steam in the dish and cook your squash much faster than in the oven. Make sure to keep it covered in the microwave to keep the steam close to the squash (I use plastic wrap and poke a hole in it). Cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. Once it is cooked, you should be able to easily 'flake' the squash and you will find that it easily separates into 'noodle-like' fibers. Scoop these out with a spoon or fork. Just be careful - it will be hot! While it cools a bit, make the orange sauce (or, let it cool, then scoop out with the fork, this is easier on your hands! You can prepare the squash 1-2 days in advance and keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container).
Step 2: To make the orange sauce -
|Getting the noodle-like flesh|
from the squash.
In a heavy sauce pan, add 2 Tb of butter over medium high heat. Let this melt and add 2 Tb of flour or 1 Tb of corn starch for a gluten free option. Whisk constantly until no lumps. This will look like a paste (roux). Slowly add 1 cup of chicken stock while whisking. Add slowly to keep the sauce hot and allow it to incorporate nicely into the paste - this will give your sauce a nice texture.
Mix together 2 eggs (beat with a fork). Add a little of the white sauce into the eggs. This will heat up the eggs to prevent 'scrambling' them if you were to just add them to the sauce. Return the egg/roux back to the pan with the rest of the sauce in it. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook over med. heat for 1-2 mins, this will cook (160F) the egg yolks for food safety. After this, take the sauce off the heat and add in the juice of 3 clementines or ~1/2 c. You need to take it off the heat to prevent flashing off the orange flavor and you need to add it at the very end as the acid in the oranges will change the pH of the sauce (more acidic) and if you add this before cooking the egg yolks, you will denature (precipitate) some of the yolk, which does not add to the nice velvety mouthfeel that you should get from this dish.
Step 3: Putting it all together -
(1 c frozen peas/ 1/2 c roughly chopped prosciutto / 3/4 c. large chunks of aged Parmesan cheese)
Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat, add the frozen peas and a drizlzle of olive oil. Cook until warm (1-2 minutes). Add the spaghetti squash shreds and warm (if cold). Add the prosciutto and parmesan and stir until blended. Add the orange sauce and stir well. Add a little fresh cracked black pepper and enjoy!