I picked up a bunch of asparagus and a spaghetti squash at the farmers market over the weekend, which is an excellent reflection of the season right now: the very end of winter transitioning into the briefest hint of spring. What fun it would be to come up with a light supper dish that uses both of these ingredients!
Inspired by Emily's Spaghetti Squash with Ricotta, Sage, and Pine Nuts recipe, I roasted the squash and the asparagus and combined them with ricotta and pine nuts for richness. I used lemon and thyme to add brightness and acidity, resulting in a fresh, tasty dish that hints at spring's arrival while still anchored in a favorite winter staple.
I love Emily's recipe but wanted something a little lighter and brighter for spring, which the lemon and thyme provide. This was my first asparagus of the season, and what a welcome treat it was! It roasted up quick and sweet when I added it to the spaghetti squash during the last few minutes of its roasting. (This tutorial from our archives will give you good step-by-step instructions for roasting spaghetti squash.)
While I used pine nuts in this recipe, I actually think next time I'll go for roughly chopped almonds. Pine nuts are so expensive, and while they do have a distinct flavor, almonds will do just as well and are a little more accessible. The thyme really works here but you can substitute another robust fresh herb such as rosemary. You could even do basil, except I would increase the amount by a teaspoon or two.
Serve this with a few slices of toasted crusty bread and a nice crisp white wine for a light supper. Hello, spiring!
Spaghetti Squash with Asparagus, Ricotta, Lemon and Thyme
1 small spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 pound asparagus
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
1 teaspoon fine lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (from 4 to 5 sprigs)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and brush with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim the woody ends of the asparagus and slice the stalks on a diagonal into 2-inch pieces. Remove the baking sheet, add the asparagus to the other side, and toss with the remaining oil. Place the garlic cloves beneath each squash half. Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the asparagus is tender and starting to char, and the squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the ricotta, lemon juice, zest, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the garlic cloves from beneath the squash. Add to the ricotta and mix well. Add the asparagus to the bowl.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, but still warm, run a fork through the flesh to separate and remove the strands from the shell. Add to bowl with ricotta mixture, and stir to combine. Divide between plates and top with pine nuts. Serve warm.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.