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Author Notes: While we are both adventurous and schooled eaters, there are some things my husband is not a fan of. I do my best to give him more pasta than I would normally cook and avoid the potently aromatic (stinky cheese), briny (capers/olives) and seemingly incongruous pairings (fruit + meat). But sometimes my ideas and cravings are too strong (eat what I want!) and then I simply try to minimize the impact. Today was such a day.
As is often the case, this dish was yet another long journey through the windy paths of my brain. The theme and the thread remained the same, but the end was result was much different and much better than I had initially envisioned. The origin was simply LAMB. To which I added SPAGHETTI SQUASH. The two obvious preparations I pictured were a bolognese which I had made just last week or an African spiced stew of sorts. Now this is where the verboten Fruit + Meat comes in and to some it might be even weirder that a glob of peanut butter gets stirred in.
But it turned out surprisingly delicious- maybe even the best thing I've made this year so far.
Makes 12 mini lasagnas
Lamb and Squash
- 1 small spaghetti squash
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 10 dried apricots, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ras el hanout*
- 8 ounces tomatoes (I used fresh, but a can and juices would work well too)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Coconut Bechamel and Garnish
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- fresh feta
- cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Stab squash all over with a knife or fork and microwave on high for 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. It should be soft to the touch (but touch it with a towel, it will be hot!). Let it rest while you cook the lamb.
- Heat 1 T oil in a pan over medium heat and sautée onion with a pinch of salt until beginning to brown. Add 1/2 of garlic and stir until aromatic. Remove to a bowl. Add 1 T oil and cook lamb until cooked through. Add spice mix and hearty pinch of salt and stir to combine. Add onions, tomatoes, apricots and broth, cover and simmer until tomatoes have broken down and liquid starts to thicken (about 5 minutes). Stir in peanut butter until mixture has thickened.
- Cut squash in half, remove seeds and gently shred with a fork. Heat a pan and toast almonds until brown. Remove. Melt 1 T butter and cook squash for a few minutes. Add remaining garlic and cook until squash begins to brown and liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Heat coconut oil in a pot and stir in flour cooking for a few minutes. Whisk in coconut milk and broth and continue stirring until thickened, but smooth. Salt to taste.
- Oil muffin tins. Place a won ton wrapper in each so that the corners go up the sides. Place a spoon of squash, then lamb, then bechamel into each. Place another won ton wrapper on top rotated 90º and push gently in the center. Sprinkle almonds, then squash, lamb, sauce again. Bake in oven 15 minutes or until edges are browned, rotating halfway through.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and aleppo pepper and, if you wish, feta.