Not only is beer a wonderful pairing with food, but it can also be a wonderful ingredient to incorporate in your cooking. Real beer has a distinct range of flavors that few other beverages can match, and certain dishes simply call out to a certain flavor.
A spaghetti squash has been sitting in my pantry for a week or so now. I was getting sick of seeing it there, so I decided to finally cook it. If you have never had spaghetti squash before, it is exactly what it sounds like. After 40 minutes in the oven this squash’s flesh will fork into strands of spaghetti like vegetable noodles. Its a low carb, and light way to replace your pasta but still get the pasta sauce! It also gave me an idea for a new pasta sauce, one with San Marzano tomatoes and Unibroue’s Maudite!
So here is the menu: roasted spaghetti squash covered in a San Marzano and Maudite tomato sauce with garlic veal meatballs and a fresh Caesar salad. Sounds good to me!
This recipe feeds 6 hungry people. You will need:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 bottle of Unibroue Maudite
- Olive Oil
- 2 sweet onions
- 1 zucchini
- 5 large white mushrooms
- 12 cloves of garlic
- a sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 lb of ground veal
- 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 head of lettuce
- 1 egg
- Caesar dressing (or fresh, see below)
- Hot sauce to taste
- Rosemary to taste
- Salt and pepper
To start, chop all of your vegetables and mince the garlic while the oven is warming to 375F. Cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and core the seeds as you would a pumpkin. Fill a roasting pan with about a 1/4 inch of water, and lay the squash halves in in flesh side down, seal it tight with foil, and let it roast for 40 minutes.
While this is happening we are going to prepare the sauce and meatballs. In a tall pot, on medium high heat add 4 tbsp of oil and about 3/4 of the onions that you have chopped. Sauté these for 5 to 7 minutes until they have become slightly translucent. Then add the zucchini, mushrooms, 3/4 of the garlic, and the thyme. Mix this up well and continue to sauté.
While the veggies are cooking off, mince the remaining onions, and mix them in a fresh bowl with the ramining garlic, mustard, Worcester, rosemary, salt, pepper, hot sauce, egg and the veal. Use your hands to ensure and even and smooth mixture until you can easily create meatballs. Get a large sauté pan warming on medium high heat with oil, place the meatballs one at a time in the pan and let them cook. Turn the heat down to medium after 5 minutes, and turn the meatballs.
Now your veggies back in the pot should be soft and ready for a beer. Add 1/2 cup of the Maudite to the veggies and let it reduce off slightly. After 5 to 7 minutes, add the can of tomatoes. We are using canned San Marzano tomatoes because regardless of popular belief, canned tomatoes will have richer flavor than fresh from the grocery store. These tomatoes were picked and canned right when ripe, unlike the fresh tomatoes on the shelf which were picked green and ripened in the truck and on the shelf.
The tomatoes will be soft but whole, so with an immersion hand blender puree the entire mixture together creating a smooth sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste, then blend again. Right about now the squash should be ready to come out, so turn the heat on your pot to low and let it cook away.
Remove the squash from the oven, uncover them, and let them cool on a cutting board flesh side up. This may take about 10 minutes, so lay a dry cloth or a few paper towels next to the squash, and tend to the meatballs. When they are ready add them directly to the sauce. MMMMmmmm. The other thing you can add now to the sauce if you want is some cheese. This is totally a preference thing, but I love a hearty and cheesy pasta sauce, so I added 2 cups of shredded old cheddar here.
When the steam has stopped pouring off of the squash, with a fork and an oven mitt (they will still be hot) peal back the flesh lengthwise along the squash – you will see it very easily split into spaghetti like strands. Very cool. Place all the now forked spaghetti’d squash on to the towel to dry a bit. They will be full of water, and if you don’t pat them dry slightly they will dilute your rich tomato sauce to much.
Once thats done, simply add the spaghetti’d squash to your sauce, mix and let rest at low heat. Now we can prepare the Ceasar. Using any type of lettuce you prefer, and a dressing of your choice, create your own salad to accompany the meal and place it at the ready for hungry guests. If you want to make your own Caesar dressing it is easy. Blend together 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 3/4 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1 clove of garlic, salt, pepper and splashes of hot sauce to taste. Thats it. If you have anchovies a couple in there will really kick it up a notch.
The spaghetti squash pasta and meatballs is done now and you are ready to serve dinner. The only thing you are missing is a nice snifter or tulip of the Maudite. The Maudite has a rich caramel malt flavor to it with tingling spices and a smooth but crisp carbonation. Touches of herbs and earth along with a powerful aromatic aroma make this beer a perfect match for the pasta and veal!