Never has it tasted so good to be straddled between winter and spring until now. Fresh stalks of asparagus mingle with a healthy dose of lemon and thyme to hint at spring's arrival, while this vegetarian supper is anchored with a favorite winter staple.
Inspired by Emily's recipe for spaghetti squash with ricotta, sage, and pine nuts, I wanted a version that embraced the freshness of the season, while also being filling enough to serve as a meal.
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!
While I used pine nuts in this recipe, chopped almonds or hazelnuts would also make a fine substitute. Serve this with a few slices of toasted crusty bread and a nice, crisp white wine for a light supper. Hello, spring!
This recipe is a perfect reminder that even though spring has arrived, there is still a place for spaghetti squash on the table. Often used as a pasta alternative, these strands evoke a lightness that is so wonderfully in line with all the components of the dish.
There is one step in this recipe that is a true gem not to overlook. Dana calls for placing a smashed clove of garlic under each piece of spaghetti squash, about halfway through cooking. It's just enough time to roast the garlic, mellowing the pungent bite and revealing depth and sweetness. Best of all, because it's hiding away under the squash, the irresistible aroma of roasted garlic is lightly infused into the strands of squash.
- Kelli, March 2017
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 freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
1 teaspoon finely grated 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 and scrape out the seeds. Brush the cut sides with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil. Place cut-side down on one half of a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, trim the woody ends of the asparagus and cut the stalks on a diagonal into 2-inch pieces.
Remove the baking sheet with the squash, add the asparagus to the other side, and toss with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Place a garlic clove 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, place 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 the ricotta mixture and stir to combine. Divide between plates or transfer to a serving platter and top with the pine nuts.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Originally published in 2015