Thursday, March 19, 2020

Spaghetti Squash with Sage and Walnuts

This dish is so much fun to eat, especially when I'm craving pasta with a sauce and I don't want to eat too much starch. It's so aromatic and full of fall flavors. Makes for a great Mediterranean entree but if there are more people, it's a great side dish for meaty dishes. Plus, it's so easy to make!
  • 1 spaghetti squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 15 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Serves 6 as a starter.
    Here's how to prepare this gorgeous Mediterranean dish:
    1. Preheat the oven to 400.
    2. Place the squash on a cutting board. Using a large, very sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seed with a spoon and discard.
    3. Place the squash halves on a roasting rack and season with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 sage leaves in the hollowed -out core of each half.
    4. Bake the squash on the oven's middle rack until the flesh is just soft, about an hour (or longer, it all depends on your oven).  Remove the squash and let it cool until you can work with the flesh comfortably, about 15 minutes.
    5. Using a fork, scrape the meat of the squash away from the skin, so that you get fluffy spaghetti-like strands. Reserve these and discard the skins. This can be made ahead of time, stored in an air-tight container in the fridge.
    6. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the walnuts. Toast the nuts and allow the butter to bubble, about 1 minute.
    7. Add the sage leaves. When the leaves release their aroma and begin to crackle in the pan, add the squash and stir to coat it with the flavored butter. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat until the squash is warm, stirring frequently so the flavors get inside the squash.  Season with the rest of the salt and pepper, or to your taste.
    8. Serve on a large plate or platter, topped with the cheese.

    Thursday, March 5, 2020

    Prawns, Scallops & Clams with Tomato Sauce & Feta Cheese

    This recipe is my most recent discovery, I love it so much that I try to incorporate it
    in most of my dinner parties. It's great if you need a fish dish to offer as well as meat.
    Our friends are always asking me for the recipe, it's very unusual and so delicious!
    On the plus side, you can make most of it in advance. Sometimes I'll omit the clams since 
    not everyone likes clams and also they are not always available.
    I've served this dish with quinoa, pasta, or couscous and of course good bread. 

    I found this recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi's Cook Book.  Thank you for another favorite!
    Serves 4
    • 1 cup white wine
    • 2 1/2 lbs clams scrubbed 
    • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes chopped, with some of the liquid
    • pinch of sugar
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 lb tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined 
    • 1 lb large scallops
    • 6 oz feta cheese, broken into chunks
    • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    This is the part you can make ahead, if you like. Preheat your oven to 475 F. 
    In a medium saucepan bring the wine to a boil until reduced, about 5 min.
    Add the clams, cover the pan with a lid, shaking it at times until the clams open.
    Put the clams in a fine sieve to drain and save the cooking juices in a bowl. 
    When cool enough to handle, take the clams out of their shells. Chill if using them later.

    Also, you can chose not to use the clams, just add the wine the after cooking the garlic, reduce and then continue as follows.

    In a large frying pan that will hold all the sauce and all the seafood and is oven proof, cook the garlic in
    the oil over medium/high heat till golden. 
    Add the tomatoes, clam liquid, sugar, oregano and some salt and pepper.
    With a peeler or a sharp knife, shave off thin strips of lemon, the whole lemon. Add
    them to the pan, stir and let simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

    Add the prawns and scallops, stir gently, cook for just a minute. Fold in the clams, sink
    the feta chunks into the sauce and sprinkle with the green onion. Place in a casserole dish then in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the top brown. I like to put the broiler for the last part, get the
    fish nice and brown, making sure not to over cook the seafood. 
    And serve!  
    Make sure everyone gets pieces of the lemon strips, the warm lemon strips tastes fabulous!