I like foods that involve a bit of work. Some people find sunflower seeds exhausting or become frustrated when trying to scrape the flesh from an artichoke leaf with their teeth. Not surprisingly, both of these snacks make it to my list of favorite eats.
Aside from the ever-intimidating initial slice of a large squash, I love working with squash and pumpkin. Something about scooping out the seeds and the earthy smell that follows always brings me back to Halloween as a kid. My spoon feels the same in my hand as it scrapes at the squash and I’m transported to my back deck, sitting next to my brothers in the cool air while my dad collects the seeds and brings them inside for roasting.
Autumn is by far my favorite season, and I (along with the rest of America) am guilty of a pumpkin obsession. But one can only eat so many pumpkin flavored dishes, so winter calls for variety. Spaghetti squash is a cheap and gluten-free ingredient option that can be used to replace pasta in a number of dishes.
Last night I kept things simple and made a faux spaghetti with (faux) meat sauce for a vegetarian friend. Somehow I’m always surprised and thrilled when the squash transforms into noodles! Works every time. Have fun!
Spaghetti Squash with Red Sauce
1 large spaghetti squash
1-2 cups of broccoli florets
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 a white onion, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 Tofurky Italian Sausage, chopped
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup of water
Olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
Using a large knife, slice spaghetti squash in half longways. Spoon out the seeds (I like to use a small knife to cut the seeds loose then follow up with a spoon).
Place both squash halves face down (the outer skin should be facing up) on a microwave-safe platter.
Pour 1/3 cup of water onto platter and use plastic wrap to cover both halves, sealing the water and squash on the platter. Microwave for 20 minutes or until squash skin looks slightly wrinkled. Remove from oven and let cool.
Pour olive oil (about 2 teaspoons) into a saute pan and heat over medium flame. Add in the onion and garlic almost immediately and saute for 5 minutes. Add in broccoli and sausage bits and continue to saute for another 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour diced tomatoes into a sauce pan and turn on medium heat. Add in balsamic vinegar for a kick and season with salt and pepper, stirring constantly. Add in broccoli (separate the florets out from the stir fry) and heat for 5-7 minutes. I prefer my sauce thicker, so rather than leaving the broccoli in chunks, I used an immersion blender to combine the tomatoes and broccoli, resulting in a thicker consistency.
Continue heating sauce and add in the remaining sauteed ingredients (onion, garlic, and sausage). Lower heat.
Carefully uncover spaghetti squash (beware of the steam) and use a spoon to scoop the spaghetti-like flesh into a colander. Using a towel, press upon the squash flesh, draining any remaining liquid from in the colander.
Transfer “noodles” into a bowl and top with sauce. Serve with or without fresh Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste!