I just had the luxury of a long weekend alone – and I mean all alone. I adore my family and don’t regret even one second time spent with them, but for over 22 years long uninterrupted time all to myself has been a rarity. The brief and glorious 72 hours when time stood still while I played in the kitchen in my jammies made me a bit giddy with ambition:
- After first cleaning out the pantry, refrigerator and freezer, I tried to take advantage of some serendipitous food surprises by using them as inspiration for what to make. It was like my own version of a surprise basket challenge.
- I roasted a lonely pie pumpkin bought for a forgotten cooking project. Some puree found itself in a grand loaf of triple ginger pumpkin chocolate chip bread sent to my daughter at college (made of course with my recipe for Triple Ginger Pumpkin Muffins) Some went into my recipe for Nutrient Rich Pumpkin Oatmeal Dog Biscuits along with questionable wheat flour and bran flakes found in the back of the pantry plus brewers yeast in the refrigerator I vaguely remember buying at the farmers market.
- There were four (!) bunches of farmers market carrots in the vegetable crisper, so I made a timeless Asian inspired carrot dressing so good I ate half of it before putting it on a spring onion, French radish, cabbage and kale salad using even more farmers market vegetable crisper finds.
- The detailed task of making sourdough has become a source of a deep sense satisfaction and delight every single time I attempt it. I baked three loaves of sourdough using the three different sourdough starters my refrigerator now cocoons (including an Italian one from my friend We Like to Cook who also lent me her banneton) My timing of the process was a bit off, so I ended up setting an alarm to bake them at 3 am one morning.
- I finally had the time to use some organic Seville oranges from the market to make orange marmalade good enough to rival the $12-a-jar-and-worth-every-penny-of-it marmalade made at Alons, one of my favorite local Bakery Markets.
- My freezer is now bursting with comforting creamy vegetable soups: vegan roasted mushroom soup made for a dinner party next week, rutabaga carrot soup inspired by an over abundance of carrots and rutabagas bought at the farmers market , black bean soup made with Georgia grown chiles and tomatillos found languishing in the bottom of the freezer and the remainder of some bulk bin black beans waiting for action, and a sunny Meyer lemon, tarragon and Vidalia onion asparagus soup because it feels like spring is Atlanta…and to use the leftover meyer lemons from a lemon poppy seed cake sent to my daughter a couple weeks ago.
My favorite challenge of the weekend turned out to be deciding what to do with a forgotten smallish spaghetti squash found in the cupboard with the lonely pie pumpkin (see above). I ended up bingeing (yes, it can be spelled this way!) on a big bowl of garlicky spaghetti squash with fresh parsley and green garlic from the Morningside farmers market as well as a handful of pepitas I fortuitously found in the pantry. This dish is the recipe I’m sharing.
The longest time spent on the Garlicky Spaghetti Squash is roasting it. Once the squash is soft and ready to be pulled into strands for sautéing , the dish comes together in minutes. Quickly pan sautéing the pepitas adds an unexpectedly complimentary crunch and flavor to the somewhat classic combination of ingredients chosen.
The spaghetti squash would make a deceptively rich main dish any night of the week or delightful weekend brunch option.
Garlicky Spaghetti Squash with Parsley, Parmesan and Pepitas
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs pepitas, also known as shelled pumpkin seeds
pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp sea kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbs minced fresh green garlic or 2 tsp minced garlic clove
2 cups cooks spaghetti squash (from a 2 ½ lb spaghetti squash)
3 Tbs chopped parsley leaves
2 Tbs grated parmesan
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs unsalted butter
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and slice spaghetti squash into 1” rings. Scrape out seeds from each slice. Coat each slice using 1 Tbs of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds black pepper. Place on a lightly oiled or parchment lined bake sheet and roast for 45 to 55 minutes or until strands of squash are softened but will still hold their shape.
- Remove from oven and cool slightly. With fork, pull strands of squash from rings. Discard the skin.
- In medium sauté pan over medium heat cook pepitas until they puff up and brown slightly. Remove and set aside as soon as they pop. Watch carefully – they cook in a matter of minutes and will quickly turn from golden brown to burnt if not attended to!
- Warm 2 Tbs olive oil in pan. Add spaghetti squash, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper and garlic. Saute a few minutes until fragrant.
- Add parsley, parmesan, lemon juice and butter. Gently mix until combined.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle with sautéed pepitas and serve.