Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Spinach Meat Sauce

I tackled my latest Chopped ingredients the other night: Spaghetti Squash, Spinach, and Merguez Sausage.  My husband made the merguez, and it was delicious.  I was correct in my belief that the sausage would be smoky, sweet, and have a little heat.  Honestly, it was probably the best sausage I've ever eaten.  I was pretty excited to create a yummy dish with these more reasonable, normal ingredients.  I decided to make a sort of "Spaghetti" with Meat Sauce, of course using the squash as the spaghetti and making the sauce using spinach instead of tomatoes.  It turned out great.

Here are my little sous chefs.

Spaghetti (Squash) with Spinach Meat Sauce
1 Large spaghetti squash
2 Merguez sausages (if you can't find this type of sausage, you could use chorizo or Italian sausage)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 11-oz pkg spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream

Pierce the squash several times with a knife.  Put it in the microwave on high for 6 minutes.  Turn it over and microwave it for another six minutes.  Let it sit for a while to continue steaming.

Remove the sausage from the casing, crumble and brown it over medium high heat.  When it's nice and browned, remove it to a paper-towel-lined plate. Leave the drippings and browned bits of sausage stuck to the bottom in the pan.  Cover it with foil to keep it warm.

Return the pan with drippings to medium high heat.  Add the onion and about 1/2 tsp of salt to the pan and cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add wine.  If there are any browned bits of sausage or onion left on the bottom of the pan, scrape them up into the sauce.  Let the wine reduce for a minute or two.  Add 2 Tbsp butter and stir until it melts.  Add spinach and stir to coat with sauce.  Cook until it is nicely wilted (photo below is only partially wilted).

While spinach is cooking, slice open squash (you'll probably need an oven mitt), scoop out seeds, and then pull out strands of squash with a fork or spoon and set aside.

Once spinach is wilted, put the entire contents of your pan into the blender.  When pan is empty, return it to medium low heat, add the remaining two Tbsp butter, let it melt, and put the squash strands in the pan.  Add about 1/2 Tsp salt.  Stir to coat with butter and cook for several minutes.  The main purpose of this is to try to evaporate some of the water that comes out with the squash so it's not super wet when you put it on your plate, as well as adding a bit more flavor to it.  Puree the spinach mixture.  Add cream and continue to blend until smooth.  Add S&P to taste.  Put sauce, "spaghetti" and sausage on the plate!

This dish turned out really well.  The sauce was delicious.  The only thing I might have done differently was to use one more sausage, because there wasn't quite enough for two servings plus what we gave to the girls.

Next up: Gouda Cheese, Avocado, and Duck Breast!

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