If Scot could be reborn, he’d surely come back as Italian; his passion for the cuisine pumps through his veins. When he was the chef at Johnny’s, a trattoria in Ohio, he turned out plate after plate of fettuccine Alfredo. The rich white sauce starts with butter, shallots, garlic, and freshly grated nutmeg, but one day, instead of adding cream to the pan, he accidentally grabbed marinara sauce, which changed the sauce entirely. A signature dish was born, and Scot named it Noce Moscata, which means “nutmeg” in Italian.
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Drizzle the flesh of the squash with the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut side down in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roast until the squash is golden and tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
3. When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the flesh toward the center to create long strands. Put the strands into a mixing bowl and set aside. (The squash can be prepared a couple of hours in advance, covered, and held at room temperature.)
4. Put a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the butter substitute. When it has melted, add half of the shallot, half of the garlic, and the nutmeg and cook, stirring, until the butter substitute starts to brown, about 1 minute; keep a close eye so it doesn’t burn. Pour in half of the sherry and let the alcohol burn off for about 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover the sauce to keep warm.
5. Put a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter substitute. When it has melted, add the remaining shallot, garlic, and sherry and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to soften. Add the spaghetti squash and sauté until well coated and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Pool a ladleful of the sauce in the center of each of four individual plates. Using a pair of tongs, twirl one-quarter of the spaghetti squash tightly into a nest and mound on top of the sauce, like a pile of noodles. Repeat with the remaining squash. Top the squash with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with parsley and the Walnut Parmesan.
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Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen, with Scot Jones. (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.