It was Kevin Marquet's love of golf that initially drove him to work in the kitchens of local country clubs—and that's where the Colorado native discovered his knack for cooking. In 2004, Marquet met Denver chef Michel Wahaltere, who taught him everything he knows about Spanish cuisine. A year later, the pair opened the 9th Door—a tapas spot—in LoDo. Though Wahaltere has moved on, Marquet still turns out authentic Spanish cuisine as the 9th Door's executive chef.
Calabacitas (Serves 4)
Split the squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down in two inches of water in pot. Cover and boil for 20 minutes. Remove, and run a fork over the inside of cooked squash to extract the spaghettilike strands. In a sauté pan, melt the butter and slowly cook the garlic. Add the piquillo peppers, asparagus, pulled spaghetti squash, salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. When the vegetables are hot, add the Manchego cheese and toss until it just starts to melt. Top with fresh basil and a drizzle of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil.