Monday, 29 October 2012

Spaghetti Rosti

I am an adventurous eater, not shying away from new and unusual foods. I tire easily of the same old vegetables that sit on the grocery shelves year round. So it is with great surprise that I found myself looking at the squash section realizing that I have never cooked with Spaghetti Squash. Squash are in general a new food to me having grown up in England where Butternut and Pumpkin are only just making an appearance.
 Forty five minutes of roasting left me with a squash tender and fragrant. Following instructions from the many articles online about how to cook Spaghetti squash I carefully scraped out the flesh with my fork marveling at the long strands piling in the dish besides me. Natures noodles, how cool is that! The trouble was I wasn't sure what to do with it next, the obvious would have been a tomato sauce of some kind, maybe some meatballs, until my son walked by and said 'Oooo, are you making Rosti?' So Spaghetti Rosti it was.

Rosti, in case you didn't know is a national dish for the Swiss. How you make it depends on who you ask. Some say to use raw shredded potato others say to parboil first. Some advocate a floury variety of spud and there are those who claim the best Rosti come from a good waxy tuber. But when all's said and done, the basic method is the same. Shred your potato and fry in butter (remembering to wear your elasticated trousers of course!) until golden brown. Seems easy doesn't it. Well with the potato it's not so much. Raw shredded potato is difficult as there is a danger of it browning faster than it cooks and even if you time it right you can often be left with a starchiness in flavour which is not altogether pleasant. Parboil your spuds and you run the risk of having mash rather than shred. With my squash already cooked and shredded for me, I thought that I might be onto a winner and Rosti heaven. Usually I would make a large Rosti, filling an omelet pan but today I made individual ones using a circular cookie cutter to mold the squash into little patties. The Rosti were crisp on the outside, the middle having kept it's soft rich texture. All in all the easiest rosti I have ever made.


Spaghetti Rosti (makes 12 individual or four large)

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tbsp butter or oil (or a combination)
salt and pepper

First roast the squash. Preheat your oven to 375F (190C). Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Rub the flesh with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash flesh side down on a lined baking sheet. Place in the hot oven and roast for 45 minutes or until the squash is tender. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool slightly. Using a fork gently remove the flesh from the skin by dragging your fork through the flesh. It will transform into long spaghetti shaped strands. 

Heat 1tsp of the butter in a small (8" diameter) frying pan over medium low heat. Form the squash into individual sized patties and place in the pan. I cooked three at a time to avoid overcrowding, or cover the base of the pan with a layer of your squash to make a larger rosti. You want to compress the flesh a bit so that it holds together without squashing it into a paste. Remember a rosti has distinct shreds. Let the rosti cook until the underside is golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook the other side for another five minutes. For the individual rosti use a spatula to do this, for a large one, place a plate over the pan and flip the pan over so the rosti is now on the plate (careful not to get hot fat on you). Slide the rosti back off the plate into the pan so the golden side is now facing up. You may need to add a little more oil or butter at this point. Once the second side is golden remove and serve.

The Swiss typically serve their rosti with ham and cheese, we had ours on a bed of mixed greens with shaved parmasan cheese and cracked black pepper. A tart mustard based vinegarette to accompany. I actually only used one half of the squash so ended up with 6 individual patties, the second half we'll have with that tomato sauce and yes, probably meatballs!  My first taste of Spaghetti squash and I'm hooked.

Here's to a great week.

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