There’s something about cold weather and big bowls of pasta that go hand in hand. While eating that big bowl of pasta is so satisfying, I struggle with a serious food coma afterward. I love using spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta because of this — it’s an easy way to get in your vegetables, a blank canvas for all types of flavors, and with only 31 calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates in a cup, you can afford to eat a few additional servings.
I love to make pasta or spaghetti squash in a browned butter sage sauce. My parents grow huge sage plants every year, which continue to grow long after the weather grows cold. When there’s just too much sage to eat or the season is ending, I either shallow fry the leaves and eat them like potato chips (see instructions below), or I dry the leaves in a dehydrator and have sage all year long. If you can’t find fresh sage for this dish, use 1/3 of the amount of chopped dried sage. I’ve paired the spaghetti with crispy pork chops. The almond and rice flour mixture yields a super crispy crust that holds up to sauces and other ingredients. If you’re not into pork, this recipe will also work well with boneless chicken breast.
Crispy Italian Pork Chops with Browned Butter Sage Spaghetti Squash
For the Pork Chops:
- 2 Bone-In Pork Chops (about 3/4 inch thick, 1 lb. total)
- 1 large Egg
- ⅓ cup Almond Flour
- ⅔ cup White Rice Flour, separated
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ¼ tsp. Dried Oregano
- ¼ tsp. Dried Parsley
- ¼ tsp. Dried Sage
- ¼ tsp. Granulated Garlic
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1-2 Tbsp. Butter
For the Spaghetti:
- 1 Spaghetti Squash (about 3 lbs.)
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- 2 Large Cloves Garlic
- 10 leaves of Fresh Sage (~3-4 leaves of Dried Sage)
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ¼ tsp. Black Pepper
- Optional – Handful of Shredded Kale, Chard, or other Hearty Leafy Green
- Remove pork chops from the fridge and dry them with a paper towel. For the dredging process, you will need three round or rectangular shallow containers. In one container, beat the large egg with a whisk or fork. In the second container, add ⅓ cup rice flour along with a pinch of salt and pepper. In the third container, add the remaining ⅓ cup rice flour, almond flour, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic.
- Create a little assembly line — dredge the pork chop in the rice flour on both sides and wipe off any excess gently with your hand. Next, place the pork chops one at a time in the beaten egg and cover all sides with it. Carefully lift the chop out of the egg and dredge with the almond & rice flour mixture. Turn the chop a few times to cover both sides and all edges. Set pork chops aside.
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Hold the spaghetti squash lengthwise on a cutting board and cut straight down through the center of the squash. Remove the seeds from both sides of the cut squash and lay cut side down on a parchment pan. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees until the squash begins to soften, but the spaghetti strands are still intact and not mushy. Scoop the spaghetti out from the squash and set aside.
- In a large oven-safe pan, heat the 1 Tbsp. butter on medium heat. Once the butter begins to melt, add the 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and increase to medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and begins to crackle, lay the pork chops in the pan and allow to pan fry undisturbed for 2 minutes, or until the underside of the chop is browned and crispy. Flip the pork chops and let the other side of the chop brown for two minutes. Then transfer the pan to the oven and let pork chops cook until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove the chops from the oven and let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
- While the pan is cooling, prepare the ingredients for the spaghetti dish. Crush the cloves of garlic, and chop the sage finely. Once the pan has cooled, place it on the stovetop and heat two tablespoons of butter on medium low heat. Allow the butter to melt and bubble. Just when the butter begins to brown, add the garlic to the pan, stirring often to prevent burning. Add the sage and stir until they begin to crisp. If you are adding greens to the pan, make sure they are shredded or sliced finely (for quick cooking), and saute them in with the butter mixture. Add the spaghetti squash and toss with the browned butter mixture. Turn off the heat and toss until well combined. Plate the pork chop on top of the spaghetti squash, and top with parsley or crispy fried sage (instructions below).
- If you have extra sage leaves, I highly recommend frying them! In a small skillet, heat 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, lay sage leaves in the skillet, being sure to not crowd them or overlap them in the pan. Watch the leaves and lift them out of the oil once they are crisp and lay on a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt. You can top the dish with the sage leaves or just munch on them as they are!