Squash on Fire: “Spaghetti” Puttanesca
On a recent trip to a local market we were greeted by a gorgeous array of orange pumpkins and irregular gourds. Instead of heading straight for the quintessential Halloween symbol, we simultaneously reached for the oblong, sunny spaghetti squash. When roasted, the bright yellow squash is transformed into pasta-like strands, so we thought it was only appropriate living, in the North End of Boston, a historic Italian neighborhood, to use it like spaghetti.
While in Italy, we were big fans of the famously pungent and spicy Puttanesca sauce. The deep, rustic red sauce with bursts of green briny capers transforms any pasta, or in this case, the subtly sweet squash ribbons. With the addition of earthy eggplant, a sprinkling of fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese, it’s our fresh, seasonal take on an Italian classic.
Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca
1 large spaghetti squash
1/2 large eggplant or 1 small, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 anchovy filets
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 c red wine of your choice
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 c fresh basil leaves, julienned, plus more for garnish
2 T capers
salt and pepper throughout
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and place cut-side down in an oiled baking dish. Pour enough water to come 1/2-inch up the sides of the dish and place in the oven.
Roast for 45-50 minutes, until a knife is easily inserted into the squash skin. Remove the squash from the oven, and cool slightly. Rake the strands of squash away from the skin with a fork, and set aside.
When preparing the squash for the oven, toss the chopped eggplant with 1 T EVOO, salt and pepper, and spread onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven along with the squash. After 25-30 minutes, remove the eggplant from the oven.
While the vegetables are roasting, add the onions and 1 T EVOO to a large pan and sautee on medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, until slightly translucent. Add the anchovy filets and garlic and sautee for 1 – 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and wine and sautee for 2 – 3 more minutes, until the wine has reduced a bit. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and let simmer on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the roasted eggplant, capers, and basil leaves and continue to simmer.
When the squash is ready, add the ribbons to the sautee pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes, allowing the squash to absorb the sauce. You may want to add water or chicken broth at this point if there is not enough liquid in the sauce. Heap the simmered strands onto plates and serve with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.