Monday, December 13, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Peppers and Greens

I know this shouldn't come as a shock, but plants, it turns out, have leaves. Or in other (slightly less obvious-sounding) words, we often ignore the leaves of non-leafy plant foods, like beets or amaranth grain, and are for some reason surprised when they turn out to be both edible and delicious (or in the case of amaranth greens, to exist in the first place).

Case in point: Fava greens, which turned up in our CSA box this week for the second time, and which are my new favorite throw-a-handful-into-just-about-anything vegetable. They're similar in this way to spinach or amaranth greens, with a very mild, fresh taste and a lovely fava beany scent when raw.
If they come in clumps, like ours did, you may want to separate the individual leaves from the stem before cooking. We added them to a new recipe for spaghetti squash last night, while we continued our search for oven leprechauns.

1 medium spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Pasture butter
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
A big bunch of fava greens, amaranth greens, or spinach (all will cook down quite a bit, so use more than you think)
1/2 tsp ñora pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve the spaghetti squash and brush cut surface with olive oil, then place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-50 minutes, depending on size, until a fork inserts with little resistance (you want it to be tender but not mushy, or the noodles won't retain their shape). Let cool for a few minutes, then gently remove seeds with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat a glug of olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until it softens, then add the garlic and a small pat of butter and cook for a minute more. Stir in the peppers, cook for a couple of minutes, then add about half of the fava greens and fold in with the peppers until they begin to wilt. (If you need a bit more liquid in the pan, add just a little chicken broth or white wine). Next, add the ñora pepper, half the parsley, a pinch of salt, and a liberal dousing of black pepper.

Gently scoop the spaghetti squash out of its rind with a big spoon, and add to the peppers and greens mixture. Use the spoon and a spatula to gently pull apart the strands of the squash and mix them into the greens. Add the rest of the greens and more parsley to taste, stir until the greens just begin to wilt, sprinkle with some Parmesan, and toss one last time. Serve hot, topped with some more Parmesan and parsley.

Serves 2-3.

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