Lately I’ve been doing a lot of what I described as “nonsense” in one of my first posts, that being using the oven to prepare a meal when it’s ridiculously hot outside. It started with the roasted acorn squash soup I felt compelled to make a couple weeks ago (shedding a few pounds of water weight in the process), then the idea for the recipe in this post came along, and tonight I was back at it again, sparking up the ol’ pilot light (I’m now an expert at this) in the Gypsy Roller’s miniature oven in preparation for a dish that will appear in a future post. When we arrived in the Okanagan at the end of July I guess I was so stunned by the heat I figured I’d be subsisting solely on cucumber sandwiches, mint juleps and popsicles for the remainder of the summer; at that point acknowledging the existence of the oven, let alone turning it on, did strike me as completely nonsensical. Obviously I didn’t anticipate the awesome bounty that is the Lake Country Famers’ Market and the abundance of vegetables (and fruit) there that lend themselves nicely to a good roasting!
So I’m on an oven-roasting kick. I’m also on a squash kick. My acorn squash soup was a success and piqued my curiousity as to what else I could get up to with members of the Cucurbita (
useless word of the day!) family. I kept coming across intriguing recipes on Pinterest (I should just come out and admit that I am obsessed with Pinterest. Over 5,000 pins and counting!) featuring spaghetti squash, so I thought I’d come up with my own treatment of this nifty noodle-y vegetable (ok, it’s technically a fruit, but you know what I mean). Initially I wanted to give it a bit of a Mediterranean spin, combining the spaghetti squash with nice oily ingredients like kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes. But seeing as these ingredients are commonly available in jars year round, I decided to save this idea for Winter and instead take advantage of the local seasonal ingredients and whip up something a little more summery. Perhaps the peaches are an unusual addition to the dish, but I was interested in experimenting with them in a savoury recipe instead of the usual pie or cobbler. Plus they’ll be gone from the markets in a few weeks so I wanted to have a final go with them while I still had the opportunity! I think their texture and tangy sweetness ended up working really nicely with the other ingredients. That’s the nice thing about squash, its versatile enough that it can be combine with just about any flavour to create something tasty. I couldn’t help but use a bit of butter to saute the leeks, and I’m glad I did because it lends the recipe a subtle richness and emphasizes the pasta-like quality of the spaghetti squash. So good!
Recipe: Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Grape Tomatoes and Peaches with Feta and Fresh Basil
Makes 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 small leeks, diced (white and light green parts only)
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 18-20 grape tomatoes
- 3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
- 7 leaves of fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roast spaghetti squash: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each squash half and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut-side down on a baking sheet and cook for 40 minutes or until flesh is tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Roast tomatoes and peaches: Keeping oven heated to 400F, place tomatoes and peaches in an 8in x 8in casserole dish, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes and peaches for 30 minutes or until soft and juicy, stirring gently half way through. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prepare leeks: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute leeks in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, until soft. Using a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes and peaches from casserole dish (discard of the juices) and combine with leeks. Remove skillet from heat.
Once squash has cooled, scrape flesh from rind using a fork and add to skillet. Add crumbled feta and basil, and gently fold ingredients together until combined. Serve and eat!