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Squash Putanesca Cruda, A Salad

November 1, 2010 by Joan Nova in Food Challenge, Salads, Vegetables | 22 Comments

I’ve been involved in a ‘top secret’ progressive dinner party called Kitchen Play. It’s been very hush-hush but now I’ve been freed to extend an invite to you. No need to bring a bottle of wine or chocolates to this dinner. It’s a virtual affair. A while back, our hostess, Casey from Tastestopping, invited six food bloggers to blindly sign up to create a course (yet assigned) spotlighting a secret ingredient from an unnamed sponsor. Intrigue. Suspense. “I’m in!”, I said. You know I love challenges.

Fast forward a bit and I was finally informed that my course was ‘salad’ and that the secret ingredient was any variety of Lindsay Olives. You might think…slam dunk. But, no, it was quite the opposite. They didn’t want marinated olives or any form of tappenade. And they certainly didn’t want lettuce, tomatoes and a few chopped olives either!

Being figuratively blindfolded, I couldn’t pair my salad course with the entrée that followed. I didn’t know what it was. As I write this, I still don’t know who my tablemates are and what they’re bringing to the party.

I’m calling this salad Squash Putanesca Cruda because the raw ingredients embrace the flavors of a putanesca pasta sauce. It’s a fresh, healthy and colorful salad  with layers of flavor that should compliment whatever the course before and after may be.

Spaghetti Squash
To cook, microwave whole for about 10 minutes. Or halve and place face down in water in oven for about an hour. Put aside. Note: If you’ve got the muscle to halve it raw, it’s much easier to remove the seeds before cooking. Reserve a few seeds and toast separately for garnish.

Ingredients for Topping (prepare this step and let sit while flavors meld)
8 sicilian olives, sliced
2 tbl sliced black olives with red jalapenos
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 heaping tbl capers
handful of basil, chopped
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
dried seasonings: coarse salt, red pepper flakes, rosemary, fennel seed, oregano

Blend (emulsify) 2-4 anchovy fillets, 1 clove of garlic, evoo, juice of 1-2 lemons and lemon zest.

Ricotta Foam (optional)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
spoonful of pesto (blended fresh basil, nuts, garlic, parmesan, evoo, s+p)

Spoon pesto into ricotta and pulse in blender to aerate.

Plating and Finishing Touch
Plate a few forkfuls of squash, drizzle ricotta foam, add olive/tomato topping, toasted seeds and dressing. Delicious! I’m look forward to making this again.

Enter a Contest. You can recreate one of the six recipes from the Lindsay Olives Progressive Party for a chance to win $100. Contest takes place at Kitchen Play and ends November 30, 2010. Interested bloggers can enter each course, up to six entries. Full contest rules are available on Kitchen Play.

[Disclosure: Lindsay Olives sent me a carton of olives to experiment with and I will be receiving a small stipend for developing this recipe.]

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. What a beautiful looking salad. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Love everything here Joan! A very fresh salad and def extends squash to another level. Well done!

  3. What a fun dinner party! Sounds like you treated the secret ingredient with class.

  4. This salad looks fabulous! Thanks for playing this month. The entire menu looks so great together – I wish we really got to eat it all!

  5. bellini says:

    You know I can’t resist spaghetti squash Joan. This is a very creative dish. I can’t wait to see what every one has come up with.

  6. norma says:

    You did it again Joan. You are so creative and inspiring.

  7. Peter says:

    The olive/tomato mixture looks fab. I could have that on Bruschettas too!

  8. So clever and inspiring! I love the flavors here – infact you had me at Putanesca! :)

  9. Amazing! I just picked up a massive spaghetti squash and was wondering what to do with it. well, this! Thanks!

  10. I really like what you did with the salad, I think it would go well with anything! This is the second post I’ve seen, now I really want some of those olives.

  11. Susi says:

    Great looking and very creative salad! Love how colorful it is! I think everyone did a wonderful job to come up with a great course :o)

  12. Evan @swEEts says:

    Such different flavors.. I’d love to reach through the comp and have a bite!

  13. Olives are my favorite and so is Kitchen Play. Fun.

  14. Erica says:

    What a beautiful salad!!!Love the colors and flavors!

  15. redkathy says:

    You never cease to amaze us Joan. Brilliant, creative, and bursting with fresh flavors! My favorite part is the dressing, wow oh wow!

  16. Marie says:

    I’ve made spaghetti squash twice since I saw it on Val’s blog, I love all the colors here who wouldn’t want to eat this!

  17. RJ Flamingo says:

    Brilliant, Joan! How I wish the hubs would eat olives. Oh, hell. I’ll make it anyway!

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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  1. […] from Foodalogue captures the wild side of a variety of Lindsay Olives in her rustic salad, Squash Putanesca […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joan Nova, norma torres. norma torres said: Squash Putanesca Cruda, A Salad […]

  3. […] Note 1. I guess Casey knows I like salad because when I was invited to participate about a half-year ago, my course was salad too. At that time I did Squash Putanesca, A Salad. […]

  4. […] a year-and-a-half ago, I participated in a Kitchen Play event with Lindsay Olives and created this Squash Putanesca Cruda Salad. Recently, I was contacted by them again to work on a recipe photography […]

  5. […] with a secret sponsor that all participants must highlight in their dish. I’ve been involved before when Lindsay Olives was the sponsor. This invitation to participate in “Summertime […]

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