Maybe it is fitting that not that long ago we posted a recipe for pork chops with endive in which I mentioned not to confuse it with Belgian endive. That got me looking for a reason to give Belgian endive a try, because I’d never had it before. Shortly after, I stumbled into a simple sauceless spaghetti recipe using Belgian endive and crumbled bacon. It had promise, but needed some transformation (besides the obvious substitution of the pasta). So I dove in with a flurry of additions and a couple of outright changes. The result was one of my favorite creations in the PP kitchen in a long time.
- 1 lb Italian sausage, bulk ground
- 6 thick-cut slices of good bacon
- 1 medium or large spaghetti squash
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 8 Belgian endives, trimmed and quartered
- 3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped (not the ones packed in oil)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Split the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, chop and separate the vegetable ingredients into prep bowls (the shallot and garlic may be combined). When the timer goes off, check the squash with the back of a spoon pressed onto the skin (if it gives way like a medium-rare steak, it’s ready). Repeat this check every five minutes or so until done, then remove from the oven.
In the biggest deep-sided pan you’ve got, fry the bacon on medium heat to medium crispy. Remove to a plate covered in paper towel to drain, then work on browning the sausage in the same pan, crumbling as you go. When the bacon has drained and cooled for a little bit, you can roughly chop it up or crumble by hand depending on how crispy you made it.
Once the sausage is browned, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan and place along side the bacon on the paper towel. You want to reserve as much of the fat as possible in the pan. Add in the shallots and garlic and sauté for roughly 1 minute until they are sizzling and fragrant, then add in the endives. Give everything a good stir, then cover and cook for about 4 minutes. After that, remove the lid and continue to cook and stir occasionally until the endives are slightly translucent and a bit soft – like you can see above – perhaps about 4~6 minutes longer.
Using an oven mitt and a fork, “tease” the stringy flesh out of the spaghetti squash into an extra large mixing bowl. Over top, add everything else on the ingredient list. Toss to completely combine everything and then transfer to a serving bowl.
Finally, serve it up in shallow bowls (or deep plates) while still warm and dig in. This should make enough for a family of four with a couple of lunches leftover (which are equally as tasty the next day). There was something about the right combination of flavors, the juicy light crunch of the endives (sort of like bok choy in a stir fry), and the slightly crisp texture of the spaghetti squash that just set this dish apart.