Films and Food. Oh, when they are good, they are sooooo good. Usually it is separately, however there are instances when together they’ve grown into bosom buddies in our mysterious minds.
“Goddamn, that’s a pretty fu**ing good milkshake.”
“I don’t know if it’s worth five dollars, but it’s pretty fu**ing good”
I can’t order a milkshake, especially not a $5 shake without thinking of Pulp Fiction. Hell, I can’t even order a high-$$$ everyday eatable without thinking of Pulp Fiction. The $10 burger? $16 pho? They all get the Vincent Vega skepticism.
This film and food connection extends way past burgers, shakes, and the cult dialog of Pulp Fiction. Sometimes it is the music getting swallowed up into noir. Mambo Italiano and Big Night, anyone? Or take Paolo Conte’s “Via con me” and the kitchen scenes of Mostly Martha (Though, don’t get me started on the “American” remake. Not happy.)
Other times it will be a certain dish or ingredient which sparks the TCM flashback. Spice and chocolate - Chocolat. Any mention of bear meat - A Chef in Love. (Weird, I know but if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Nearly all of our Top 10 Food Films will inspire some sort of culinary trigger.
Sometimes they will even inspire or influence our cooking or techniques. I first tackled the challenge of Puff Pastry due to Babette’s Feast. And an obscure scene from Dinner Rush forever changed how I cook sausage.
One of the boys in the kitchen whips up a quick meal of sausage and pasta for the boss (Danny Aiello). To cook the sausage, he took an uncooked sausage, pulled pinches of sausage out of the casing, dropped the perfect little balls into the pan and quickly sauteed them up.
So simple. So brilliant. Something I had never seen or read about. We didn’t grow up in an Italian cooking household so my ways going about Italian cooking stemmed from books. And now, the movies have become my teacher too.
In a salute to the great food movies, here’s a simple little dish using this movie inspired cooking technique… Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage.
We love spaghetti squash. It is a perfect winter squash, giving up a great texture when cooked right. Try not to cook it until it gets mushy. It should still have a little bite like… spaghetti. Mangia!
P.S. Would love to hear your food and film connections! Whether it is just your favorite food movies or scenes (am dying to see Tampopo – curse you Netflix for not having it!), foods you associate with a movie, or anything else related. Hit us with your Fave Fives.
roast in oven until squash separate easily
sautee shallots and garlic till lightly golden
cook pinched sausage till golden brown
add squash, cook till heated, toss with parmesan cheese & herbs. Enjoy!
Dive in. Soooo good.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Recipe
Yield: Serves 3-4.
Total Time: 1 hour
There are lots of recipes quickly microwaving spaghetti squash to cook it, but I just like the taste and texture of roasting the squash better. It brings out the aromas and fills the kitchen. If pressed for time to make dinner, since the squash is warmed in the pan with the sausage at the end, one could always roast the spaghetti squash ahead of time and then quickly heat it with the sausage at dinner time. Try not to over cook the squash until it becomes overly soft. It should still have a bit of a bite to the texture.
- 1 Spaghetti Squash (@3lbs or 1365g)
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) Olive Oil (divided in two parts)
- 5 or 6 medium Shallots, thickly sliced
- 3 cloves Garlic, crushed or finely minced
- 3/4 pound (340g) uncooked Sausage (any kind you prefer)
- 1 cup (60g) coarsely grated Parmigiana Reggiano
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped Oregano, or other complimentary herb to the sausage
- Kosher or Sea Salt, to taste
- fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
Preheat Oven to 375°F. Oil a sheet pan with first 1 T of olive oil.
- Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. (Use the tip of the knife to first pierce and get the cut started. Once you get the first cut started the rest of the squash should slice easily.) Scoop out the seeds and strands, then place cut side down on the prepared sheet pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash flesh separates easily into strands with a fork. Finish loosening and removing the "spaghetti" from the shells and set aside.
- Onto a large sheet of butcher paper or similar, pinch and pull small balls of sausage out of the casing, laying them so they stay slightly separate. Continue for all of the sausage.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Heat second 1 T of olive oil in pan, then add shallots and garlic. Cook until soft, stirring every 30 seconds, then add sausage. Cook untouched until bottom side of sausage starts to brown, then stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the sausage is cooked through (@2-3 minutes depending on heat and size of sausage).
- Add spaghetti squash strands to the sausage and continue cooking until heated (usually less than a minute.)
- Remove from heat. Toss in Parmigiana Reggiano and oregano. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper (remember the cheese will have a bit of "saltiness" to it already.) Serve immediately.