These are before and after photos of the pumpkin spaghetti squash goat cheese tart I made the other day. You can tell that one is an improvement over the other because it’s got a nicer hairstyle and better make up (that was subtle… think about it).
I love spaghetti squash. When you’re a kid, the idea that you can eat strands of al dente “spaghetti” that comes from a gourd is very exciting. I’m not sure why, it just is. “Oooh! Spaghetti from a squash that feels like spaghetti when you eat it!” Even as an adult, you never quite get over it.
I had recently bought some small pumpkins, which—with their velvety soft texture and distinctive flavor—struck me as an interesting foil to the spaghetti squash. Some fresh goat cheese would add richness and tang. I had considered chopping the pumpkin into chunks and tossing it with the spaghetti squash and cheese, pasta style. In the end, I decided to bake the whole thing as a tart, which turned out pretty well, I think.
I like the way the rich creaminess of the pumpkin pervades the tart, while the crunchy spaghetti squash provides contrasting texture and body. The goat cheese provides playful sparks of lively flavor (I might include bits of goat cheese within the batter next time). I used bacon fat to grease the tart pan, which added a lovely smoked flavor (you could substitute butter for a vegetarian version of this dish). As an afterthought, I arranged fresh thyme sprigs on top. Like the Dude’s rug, these really pulled the whole thing together.
Note: I’ve always sliced spaghetti squash lengthwise prior to baking. This time, I tried slicing it widthwise instead, following the advice of an article on cooking spaghetti squash. What a difference! The squash is easier to cut (less surface area) and the baked halves are more manageable when combing out the flesh.
pumpkin spaghetti squash goat cheese tart
1 baked spaghetti squash
1 1/2 small baked orange pumpkins
salt and pepper to taste
ground allspice to taste
a bit of flour
2/3 lb soft goat cheese or feta cheese
bacon fat or butter
fresh thyme sprigs
- Pre-heat the oven to 375Â°F.
- With a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash into a bowl. (You might want to chop the spaghetti squash strands into large bite-sized pieces. I think it might be easier to slice the tart that way.)
- Scoop out the pumpkin flesh into the bowl, season, and mix. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Add an egg and combine. Add a little flour to soak up the excess liquid. Mix. You want to stiffen the batter a bit.
- Crumble in the cheese and mix, reserving a little cheese to distribute on top of the tart.
- Grease a tart pan with bacon grease or butter.
- Transfer the batter to the tart pan and smooth the top, so that the batter is even throughout.
- Distribute pieces of cheese on top, then decorate with thyme leaves.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until slightly browned.