Spaghetti squash, kataifi, pickled rose petals

Spaghetti squash, kataifi, pickled rose petals

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Spaghetti squash always fascinated me as a child. It has yellow flesh that, once cooked, falls away in strands resembling spaghetti and, with a little butter and salt, tastes delicious. It was a great way for my mother to introduce me to vegetables.

In Spain they eat a lot of squash in various forms, even in sweets such as cabello d’angel (literally translated as ‘angel’s hair’) where the strands are cooked down with sugar and cinnamon to make a transparent jam. This recipe echoes this tradition, with the squash cooked slowly in the ashes, concentrating the flavours and caramelising the natural sugars. The strands are then lightly candied before being combined with kataifi, a shredded filo dough used to make many traditional Lebanese sweets. The kataifimirrors the strands of the squash while providing a crisp exterior. The pickled rose petals provide a fragrant acidity against the sweet pastry.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 spaghetti squash, 1–1.2 kg
400g sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
grated nutmeg
200g kataifi pastry
100g Smoked butter, melted
50g fresh pistachios, sliced

For the rose petals

Quantity Ingredient
100ml rosewater
100ml rice vinegar
60g sugar
pinch of sea salt
200ml filtered water
2 fresh roses (pesticide free), petals picked

Method

  1. 1. Prepare the pickling liquid for the rose petals. Bring the rosewater, vinegar, sugar and salt to the boil in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  2. 2. In a separate pan, bring the water to the boil. Add the rose petals and blanch for 2–3 minutes until softened. Drain and place immediately in the rose pickling liquid. Steep for 4 hours or overnight.
  3. 3. Prepare your embers and ignite a fire in the wood-fired oven.
  4. 4. Pinprick holes in the squash and bury directly in hot ashes (at 200–220°C/390–430°F). Leave to cook for 11/2 hours until the flesh beneath the skin feels soft. Remove and allow to cool.
  5. 5. On a clean tray, halve the squash, reserving any juices and, with a spoon, carefully remove the seeds. With a fork, transfer the flesh in long strands to a clean container, scraping the squash clean.
  6. 6. In a medium saucepan, heat the reserved juices, sugar, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon stick and nutmeg, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow to cool slightly before removing 100 ml (31/2 floz) of the syrup. To the remaining syrup, add the spaghetti squash and simmer for 40–60 minutes until the strands become separated, translucent and glassy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  7. 7. Take a handful of the kataifipastry strands and spread them out lengthways on a work surface. Drizzle with smoked butter, and place 2 tablespoons of spaghetti squash at one end of the pastry. Roll up tightly, drizzling with butter. Repeat with the remaining pastry, butter and spaghetti squash.
  8. 8. Bake in the wood-fired oven for 10–20 minutes at 180°C (355°F) until the kataifiis golden, toasted and crisp. Remove and spoon over the remaining syrup.
  9. 9. Serve immediately with a tablespoon of the rose pickling liquid over each kataifiand a scattering of pickled rose petals. Finish by scattering over the sliced pistachios. Serve immediately.

NOTE

  • The rose petals need time to steep in the picking liquid, so begin the recipe at least 4 hours ahead of time.
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