When I first shared this recipe in a post about capers, in January 2008, I thought that, because I found it in a kids' cookbook, it would be typical kid food. Au contraire. Capers give the vegetable sauce a sophisticated profile, but honestly, I imagine my grandkids would take great pains to pick out each and every caper berry. Two changes I've made in the way I prepare this recipe now: I use smaller amounts of both capers and lemon juice, which tend to overwhelm the delicate vegetables, and I add a teaspoon of garlic. I like to serve the vegetable topping right in the spaghetti squash, so each person can scrape out his or her own squash as they go along. Sometimes, I grate some parmesan or asiago cheese on top. Not vegan, but delicious.
Confetti spaghetti squash with peppers, zucchini, lemon and capers
From the pantry, you'll need: capers, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, sea salt, fresh black pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, parsley.
Adapted from Kitchen Playdates, a children's cookbook. Serves 4; can be doubled.
1 large spaghetti squash
2-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1 tsp minced garlic
1 zucchini, seeded and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or asiago cheese, 1/4 cup or more, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds, leaving half an inch margin all the way around. (Hint: to soften the squash and make it easier to cut, place it whole in the microwave for 5 minutes on high power.) Rub the squash inside and out with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes or until the rind is slightly soft and yields to the touch.
While the squash is baking, make the vegetable topping.
Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add the remaining olive oil. Add the capers, garlic, zucchini, and bell peppers, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened slightly. Add lemon juice, parsley, chopped tomato, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté briefly, 1 minute, just to warm the tomato and lemon juice.
Fill each half of the spaghetti squash with half of the vegetable mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese (optional) and serve hot.
More spaghetti squash ideas:
Spaghetti squash with spicy marinara sauce and chickpeas, from The Perfect Pantry
Chicken and spaghetti squash casserole with bell peppers, olives and cheese, from The Perfect Pantry
Parmesan zucchini and spaghetti squash with pine nuts, from Julia's Album
Thai peanut spaghetti squash, from Shared Appetite
Twice-baked spaghetti squash with pesto and parmesan, from Kalyn's Kitchen
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