Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Pancetta and Arugula


The Italian week celebration in Montreal has just finished up. There must have been something in the air because my cravings for Italian food went into overdrive. We went for pizza at one of the best pizzerias in Montreal twice in a two week period. I'm talking about Pizzeria Napoletana. They have the most delicious cracker thin crust, which is heaven for a lot of folks that, like me, do not like chewy, thick-crusted pizzas. They offering toppings such as anchovies, pancetta, prosciutto, smoked salmon and turkey, as well as artichokes, arugula, eggplant, mushrooms, olives and zucchini.

I guess this posting should be about pizza since I probably have some mouths watering now. Sorry to disappoint, but this recipe for squash tossed with pancetta and arugula is very tasty as well. The point, that I went off topic to make, was that I have been obsessing over Italian food lately, so not only were we going out for it but I was of course crafting up Italian dishes in my little kitchen. This is a lovely dish that works great as a side dish for four or served in large dinner bowls for two. Add a green salad and bread to plump up the meal. 

Ingredients
1 small spaghetti squash, quartered
Sea salt, to taste
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3.5 ounces/100 grams pancetta
4 cups arugula
Grated Parmesan, to serve

Preheat oven to 425°. Remove the seeds and connective strands from the squash. Spread in single layer, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Grind sea salt over tops. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and use a fork to scrape the flesh of the squash into spaghetti-like strands. This recipe uses about 4 cups of squash strands. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a wok. Add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the pancetta has reached the desired crispness. Turn off heat. Drain excess oil from the wok. Add the squash strands and arugula. Use tongs to incorporate all the ingredients and wilt the arugula slightly. Grate over Parmesan to serve.

Serves 4 sides or 2 dinner-size portions.

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