Sometimes simplicity trumps complexity. The idea of keeping things simple is a novel concept, but one that rings true in many aspects of life: food, training, relationships, outfits. At the end of the day, simple is best. I tend to forget this when planning a menu to have guests over for dinner. I initially think that I have to make some grand meal with exotic spices, or more complex cooking techniques. Only then do I remember that, as long as my guests are hungry enough, anything will taste good.
Spaghetti squash seems to be one an “in” foods these days. Everyone who wants a lower calorie option from spaghetti, or needs a way to get some more vegetables into their meal, this is a great alternative. It’s filling, warms you from the inside out, and is an excellent base to any sauce or topping.
So, as the weather slowly turns for worse, the desire for warm and hearty food increases. This was exactly the case last night when I came home from yoga with the lovely Katherine Moore: a great runner and friend, as well as a soul-soothing yogi. When I got home, I realized I had a spaghetti squash waiting to be consumed, and a few slices of the best bacon ever left over from family brunch.
Bacon, spinach and goat cheese spaghetti squash
Serves two to three
- 1 spaghetti squash (size dependent on how much you want to eat)
- olive oil for drizzling
- 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1” strips
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 5-oz bag of fresh spinach
- 2 oz crumbled goat cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut about half an inch off of the top and bottom of the spaghetti squash and discard those pieces. Cut the squash crosswise into rings about one-inch thick, and run your knife around the inside of the rings to cut the seeds out. Drizzle the olive oil over the baking sheet, then spread the squash rings over it, moving them around a little so that the undersides are evenly coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper, then flip the rings over and season again.
- Roast in the preheated oven until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. When the squash is done, set it aside on the counter while you cook the bacon and spinach. It’ll be easier to handle if you let it cool for 10 minutes before taking it apart.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon slices. Cook, stirring often, just until the very edges of the bacon start to brown slightly, about two minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered out, about five more minutes.
- Once the bacon is done, turn the heat up to medium and add the red wine vinegar while stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet. This will de-glaze your pan, so all the caramelized bits of bacon end up in your food, not stuck to the bottom of the pan. After about 20 seconds, turn the heat back down to low and add the maple syrup or honey. Stir everything together just to combine.
- Add the spinach, one handful at a time, stirring after every addition so that the spinach wilts and there’s room in your skillet for more. When all of the spinach is wilted, turn the burner off under the skillet and let everything sit in there while you finish the squash.
- Peel the skin away from the squash, then use a fork or your hands to pull the strands apart, adding them to the skillet as you go. When all of the squash is in the skillet, add the goat cheese and toss everything together just to combine.
- Serve immediately.