We love the challenge every Meatless Monday of making an enlightened vegetarian dish out of a traditional meat dish. So, it was inevitable that we would revamp the classic pantry standby dish – Spaghetti alla Carbonara.
The Anne half of Team Triple-F needs to avoid gluten, but rather than simply replacing the semolina flour-powered spaghetti with another grain-based wheat pasta substitute, we thought we’d use spaghetti squash instead, making it low-carb to boot as a bonus (not to mention even more nutritious). Then all we did was replace the bacon with a vegetarian “bacon.”
This is Anne’s recipe, but Donna worked on it as well. Donna’s first batch of squash had to be thrown out – it was a soggy, overcooked mess. Donna *highly* recommends cooking the squash at 400 degrees for exactly 30 minutes. Exactly. Any less and the squash will be too tough, and any more and the squash will be a watery soggy mess.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH ALLA LOW-CARBONARA
45 minutes total time – Serves 4 as an entree
1 large spaghetti squash
5 ounces vegetarian bacon, such as Morningstar Farms or Smart Bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten with a fork
4 ounces grated Parmesan, Asiago or Pecorino Romano cheese(s), or a combination of these
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out strings and seeds, then place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for EXACTLY 30 minutes, no more. (If overcooked, the squash becomes far too moist and even mushy; the egg will not properly cling to individual squash strands.) While squash is baking, whisk together the eggs, cheese(s), garlic and parsley. Set aside.
Mince vegetarian bacon. Heat oil in a skillet to medium high heat and cook “bacon” bits until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove “bacon” bits from pan. Return pan to heat and deglaze pan with vinegar. Add vinegar mixture to egg mixture.
When squash is done, remove from oven. With an oven mitt in one hand holding the squash, remove flesh of squash with a large fork, shredded so that squash flesh is in long strands. Work quickly so squash strands are still hot. Toss squash strands with egg mixture, then toss in “bacon” bits. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
–posted by Donna and Anne