Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Lets talk about a weird vegetable: Spaghetti Squash. This impostor for spaghetti is from the winter squash family. It originated in North or Central America. This vegetable is often used as a replacement for pasta in dishes with an Italian flare. I am one of those cooks who refuses to look at things for what they are. I, therefore, cannot get myself to pour a jar of tomato sauce on cooked spaghetti squash. The rebel in me screams out for a less obvious use, something a little more unique like Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Bake.
This dish is based on a Persian Kuku, an egg dish similar to a thick frittata. It's a perfect accompaniment to soup for a light dinner.
It requires some advance preparation since both the quinoa and spaghetti squash need to be cooked ahead of time. Cook the squash and quinoa earlier in the day or even better the day before.
Spaghetti Squash and Quinoa Bake (serves 8)
4 cups of cooked spaghetti squash (1 large)
16oz lowfat cottage cheese
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon mild pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup egg whites
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheese (mexican blend)
2 teaspoon dry dill
Preheat oven 375F
Pre-oil a deep ceramic baking dish (large lasagna dish).
Heat the oil in a pan over medium flame. Add the pepper and onion. Saute, stirring often, until caramelized (about 10-15 minutes).
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to the pre-oiled dish and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until the bake is set and the top is golden. If you would like to reduce the cooking time to an hour, use two deep pie dishes instead of the large lasagna dish.
Before cooking quinoa, make sure you rinse the grain really well in a colander. Quinoa has a soapy coating called Saponin which tastes quite bitter. In the U.S., most of the quinoa sold has already been pre-soaked for convenience, however a good rinse is extra insurance.