At every modern-day wedding extravaganza, a best man gives a speech to the bride and groom. Over the years, this toast to the happy couple has generally been preceded by a roast of the spotlighted man. This week I am riding tandem with this roast then toast theme. Having recently stepped off the plane from the picturesque California paradise, I can’t help but rip on the ominous skyline enveloping Jersey(apologies for lack of blog posting, I’ve been soaking up the Orange County sun). The bone chilling air put me into a 12 hour sleep coma yesterday. I woke up today almost ready to clank my champagne glass with friends, but first had to have one more roast to Jersey… this time without words or laughter but simply between the oven and me. Roasted spaghetti squash with pesto and a roasted endive and radicchio salad.
Spaghetti squash is a wonderful alternative to the carbo packed traditional noodles. Get some vitamins with your meal by roasting this squash for 45 minutes in the oven. Cut lengthwise, baste with olive oil, and season with salt beforehand. Believe it or not, forming the spaghetti-like texture is easier than you can imagine. Take a fork and run it through the squash within minutes of pulling it out of the heat. Pesto and other sauces absorb easily. The acidity in the endive and radicchio salad provides a counterbalance to the nutty pesto pasta. The orange and balsamic enhance the caramelization of the lettuce. You’ll find yourself taking bites back and forth between plates like a fifteen year old bouncing between conversations at recess. Enjoy this meal with an aged Montepulciano from Italy. A slight smokiness will result from the aging that coincides with this roasted meal. A velvety personality with subtle fruit seeps through to create a perfect merriment between food and wine.
Preferred brand: Nicodemi Notari Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Buon Apetito and Cin Cin for the New Year to come!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pesto
- 1 spaghetti squash (1 to 2lbs) cut lengthwise
- olive oil for basting
- 3/4 cup store bought pesto or blend roughly 4 cups basil, 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, 1/3 cup olive oil, clove garlic, parmesan, salt, pepper)
- diced tomato
- shaved parmesan
Cut squash lengthwise, baste with olive oil, and season with salt. Roast in 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Take fork and run through squash to form spaghetti like noodles. Add pesto and garnish with parmesan and chopped tomatoes.
Roasted Radicchio & Endive Salad
- 1 small head radicchio
- 2 heads endive
- olive oil for basting, 1/3 cup for dressing
- 1/5 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice, zest from orange
- 1/4 cup sliced manchego cheese
- pinch full of fresh cilantro
In the last 15 minutes of roasting squash,cut endive and radicchio in half lengthwise, coat with oil, and lay directly on grill or in oven. Meanwhile, create dressing with balsamic, olive oil, and orange juice. Chop lettuce leaves when warm out of oven. Layer leaves, orange zest, cilantro, and manchego cheese slices. Dress with balsamic concoction.