Sunday, March 10, 2013

Savory Spaghetti Squash Kugel is gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher for Passover

Recipes that swap spaghetti squash for spaghetti are often unsuccessful. Despite their similar appearances, the two ingredients taste nothing alike.

This recipe, however, is an exception. The flavor of spaghetti squash blends perfectly with an abundance of onions and a touch of garlic in a satisfying, savory side dish.

Kugels are a Jewish dish that can be sweet or savory and usually feature egg noodles or potatoes. Some are made with dairy ingredients, while others, meant to be served with meat, contain no milk. I've seen dozens of variations -- I've even judged a kugel contest -- but this version was new to me.

It's one of 60 recipes in a new book, "Passover Made Easy," by Leah Scapira and Victoria Dwek. (For my review of the book and their recipe for Schnitzel Nuggets With Apricot Dipping Sauce, click here.)

The authors give two methods of precooking the squash: baking it for an hour or microwaving it for 10 minutes. I went with the microwave. As I was getting ready to scoop out the seeds, my eye fell upon a dipper-type ice cream scoop. I gave it a try and was happy to discover that it removed the seeds easily and quickly.

Yield: 6 servings

1 large spaghetti squash (see tester's note)
1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper or less to taste

To precook squash in the oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash squash and place in a loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees.

To precook squash in the microwave: Cook for 1 minute to soften. Cut in half and remove seeds. Place cut-side down in a dish with 1/2 inch of water. Microwave for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute onions until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

Using a fork, scrape the strands of squash into a large bowl. Add onions; mix well. Add eggs, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until kugel is crispy on top, about 1 hour.

Tester's note: The original recipe didn't specify the size of spaghetti squash. I used a small squash and baked the kugel in an 8-by-10-inch dish. If you use a small squash, you might want to reduce the number of eggs to 3 or use small eggs and reduce the amount of black pepper to 3/4 teaspoon.

Recipe adapted from "Passover Made Easy" and photo from "Passover Made Easy" used with permission of the publisher.

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