Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is really very cool, and a nice lighter, healthier alternative to pasta. Of course, it doesn't taste like pasta-- in fact, it doesn't taste like much at all-- so whatever you put on it is going to stand out. I chose a combination of sweet, bitter, and spicy here-- using Aidell's Apricot-Ginger sausage, broccoli rabe, and hot peppers.

You'll need (serves 2-3):

1 spaghetti squash
1 long sausage (like Aidell's apricot-ginger) or 2 normal sweet italians
1 bunch broccoli rabe (this bears very little resemblance to broccoli. You can substitute any cooking green.)
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1T cayenne
1T crushed red pepper
1/2c red wine or Madiera
4 anchovies
1T tomato paste
1c baby roma or other grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2T grapeseed oil
grated pecorino to top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Poke holes in squash with a skewer or knife and place whole squash in baking dish with some water. Bake about 1 hour until soft. Cut in half to open. Scoop out seeds. Using a fork, pick out the flesh (it should magically turn to long pasta-like strands) and place in bowl. Set aside. (You can do this in advance, which would make this a good weeknight dish.)

Blanch broccoli rabe in salted water to remove some bitterness, if you want.

Slice sausage (you want meaty slices-- about 1/4-1/2"). Heat oil until almost smoking in a not-nonstick pan. Add sausage and cook until brown. Scoop out with a slotted spoon or spatula and set aside.

Add sliced onion to oil in pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until fond (browned bits from the sausage) is absorbed by the onions. Add anchovies, cayenne, red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook 2 minutes. Add tomato paste; let brown before stirring in. Add garlic and broccoli rabe; cook 2 minutes. Add reserved sausage and wine. Stir, scraping anything stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add squash and stir to combine. If there's still liquid in the pan, continue cooking until all liquid is absorbed. Serve topped with lots of grated pecorino.


fivetonsflax said...

I like the sausage-rabe-pasta dish. Suzanne and I do it with a mix of sweet and hot sausage; no tomato; and with the sausage taken out of its casing. If we want to lighten it, we'll sometimes use chicken or turkey sausage. I've never tried it with spaghetti squash; that's an interesting idea.

purplecook said...

That's the more traditional way, with orecchiette (I think you made that for us once! It was tasty). I probably would have taken the sausage out of the casing, but it was Aidell's pre-cooked. It was actually nice sliced because you get a crispy caramelized surface.

Jesse said...

If you're like me and have texture issues(I like to chew my food, thank you), thin noodles like angel hair pasta can easily turn into a lame mush of pseudo-pasta that is reminiscent of Jello. If you're often put off by similar textural sensitivity, I recommend giving this recipe a try! Instead of lacking texture these squash 'noodles' surprised me with their crunchiness! I still prefer my pasta thick, but this was the best thin pasta-ish food I've tried! I bet a minced serrano chili or two would add a nice kick if you're big on spicy.

p.s. if you've never had broccoli rabe before, make sure you know what you're getting into if you decide not to blanch it -- this stuff is BITTER! I also read something about adding a bit of balsamic to curb the bitterness...

Unknown said...

It's cool to see how that un-subtle sicilian combination: pasta, bitter broccoli rabe, sausage and spice translates. The ingredients are so elemental.

Maria V. said...

This looks so good. I've never made spaghetti squash ... New weekend procrastinatory project?

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