Spaghetti Squash with Ham & Maple Syrup
Smoked ham compliments the mild spaghetti squash really well. We like this for a weekend brunch, or light dinner.
1 small spaghetti squash (about 2 lbs.) -or use 1/2 of a medium-large squash (3-4 lbs.)
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram, oregano, or Italian herb mix
1 clove garlic, cut in half and smashed
2 tsp. lemon juice, or red or apple cider vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 c. (+/-) smoked ham -deli slices cut in ribbon slivers, or thicker slices cut into matchsticks
Optional garnishes: snipped parsley and roasted squash seeds (see note below)
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Trim ends of the squash and then cut in half vertically. (Poke with knife and microwave for a couple of minutes if you are struggling). Scoop out the seeds and any loose, stringy gunk.
Place on the prepared rimmed sheet, cut side up. Brush the insides of the halves lightly with olive oil, drizzle with 1-2 tsp. maple syrup on each side, then season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Put a smashed halved garlic piece into each squash cavity.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes, +/- depending on your squash size, until lightly browned on the edges and tender when poked with a knife or fork (it should still have body and texture- don't allow it to overcook and get mushy). Remove garlic halves, mince, and put into a large bowl; set aside.
When the squash has cooled just enough for you to handle it, run a fork through the flesh in short, sweeping strokes to separate it into “noodle” strands.
Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar, 1 tsp. maple syrup, (+/- to your taste), and red pepper flakes to the reserved minced garlic; season with salt and pepper, and whisk. Toss in the spaghetti squash noodles, a little at a time, combining gently, but thoroughly- a big fork works well.
Taste, and adjust sweet/tartness/heat ratio of your liking by adding either a wee drizzle more of maple syrup, lemon juice, or pepper flakes.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop the squash onto serving platter or individual plates, and scatter with ham (and parsley &/or roasted seeds, if using).
To roast seeds (they'll be done sooner than squash):
Line a separate small rimmed baking sheet or pie tin with parchment paper or foil.
Pull the seeds from the inside of the squash, removing most of the stringy stuff as you go. I think leaving a little "goo" and a couple of strings adds flavor, so I don’t clean super thoroughly. If you prefer neat and tidy looking snack seeds, you may rub the seeds clean.
Toss about 1 c. raw seeds with about 2 tsp. melted butter or olive oil. I prefer butter, but olive oil is good too.
Lay the seeds out, single layer on the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until golden brown, about 6-10 minutes. Lay on paper towels to cool.
Recipe created or adapted by Liz Talley, Urban Graze
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