Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Roast Spaghetti Squash with Shredded Coconut

I am so excited that squash season is finally here.  Yay.  I know you can get butternut and spaghetti squash year-round at most decent grocery stores, but I love the selection of fresh squash at the farmers' market during the fall.  I have been on the lookout for delicata squash (which I think is my favorite of the squash varieties I have tried) but I am also determined to try a few new varieties this year.  I am thinking cheese pumpkins or blue Hokkaido squash (if I can find it).  We have a kabocha squash at home right now, but I pick at least one kabocha squash up per season.  Strangely enough, I never ate any variety of squash prior to moving to NYC.  My first year here I was wandering through the farmers' market in Union Square where I saw a squash that looked interesting and I bought it.  I haven't looked back since.

We tend to be a little lazy with spaghetti squash and we make our Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices repeatedly without even considering searching for a new recipe.  This time I wanted to try something new and I took some inspiration from a pumpkin-coconut curry that I was considering making with our kabocha squash.  One thing I will say about roasting the spaghetti squash in the oven is that it cooks far more evenly.  Cooking it in the microwave is obviously much faster, but you end up with pockets of undercooked or inconsistently cooked squash.  So I would recommend that if you have the time, go ahead and roast your spaghetti squash.  It is worth it.  As for the seasonings, I thought that the combination of the heat of the cayenne chili (we added additional cayenne pepper, but it might be spicy enough with just the chili for most people) and the sweetness of the squash and coconut was lovely.  I have never tried cooking with coconut oil before but I thought it was a nice way to add a little additional coconut flavor to gently perfume the whole dish in addition to the more concentrated flavor of the dried shredded coconut.  I might try the coconut oil in a few more stir-fries until I figure out exactly what role it is going to play in our kitchen, but this was a good first attempt!

Recipe after the jump!

Roast Spaghetti Squash with Shredded Coconut
1 spaghetti squash (about 3-4 pounds)
2 tbsp coconut oil (if you don't have coconut oil, butter will work)
1 large shallot, minced (you should have anywhere from 1/2 cup to a little over that, depending on the size of your shallot)
2 tbsp cayenne chili, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp scallion, green parts only, minced

Preheat oven to 375F.  Pierce the squash a few times all over with sharp paring knife.  Place squash on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  Roast the spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance.  Remove from oven and allow squash to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, cut squash in half, lengthwise.  Use a fork to scoop out the seeds.  Once the seeds are all out, use the fork to scrape the squash into long spaghetti-like strands.  If the squash is difficult to scrape and doesn't cooperate, it's not fully cooked.  Return the squash to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Heat a large saute pan with the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add shallot and chili.  Saute the shallots and chili until the shallots are translucent, about 3-4 minutes.  And spaghetti squash strands. Toss well, add coriander, cumin, shredded coconut and season to taste with s&p.  Add cayenne pepper if using.  Garnish with scallion greens.


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