Spaghetti Squash with a Creamy, Peameal Bacon, Spinach and Leek Filling

Fall weather has me craving all of the creamy, cheesy and rich things. Stand and deliver all of the cassolettes, the gratins, the alfredos and the risottos and you may walk away alive…or full cos I’m pretty good at sharing.

Having just recovered from Thanksgiving, though, I’ve also been trying to avoid the stodginess that comes in the form of pastas, potatoes and pastries so often used as delivery vehicles for such goodies. Fickle much? Always.

And in saunters spaghetti squash: a perfectly neutral base for all of the richness in the world, but with a much-reduced stodge factor.

So, you certainly can use this filling of cream and peameal bacon and spinach and leeks and cheese in a divinely flaky pastry or atop a silky pasta, but consider the humble spaghetti squash; it really hits the spot without pummeling the spot into starchy oblivion.

This recipe makes two mains or four to six sides.

What you need:

  • 1 small spaghetti squash (1.5 – 2 kilos before gutting)
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g peameal bacon, cubed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 of a large leek, diced (about 1  cup)
  • 1 141 g (5 oz) package of fresh, baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 hefty tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped (or two tsp dry, rubbed sage)
  • 6 slices of Brie to top

What you do:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, brush the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
  3. Pop the squash halves open-side-down onto the parchment lined baking sheets, then pop those baking sheets into the oven to cook for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, turn the squash halves over so their cut sides are facing up and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. While the squash is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until browned all over. Remove and set aside.
  6. To the same pan, add the butter and once that has melted, add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown.
  7. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted.
  8. Kill the heat and stir in the cream, sour cream, wine, bacon, parsley and sage, until combined.
  9. With a fork, gently tear the strands of spaghetti squash away from the shell, taking care to not break the squash shell and fluffing it up as you go, until all of the strands are loosened.
  10. Divide the filling between the two squash halves and return them to the oven to bake for 15 minutes at 400.
  11. After the 15 minutes are up, top with slices of Brie and bake for another 5 minutes at 400, then broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.
  12. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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