This meal is straight out of my childhood. My mother was very find of a healthy-eating lifestyle and after I got out of my SpaghettiO’s and mac&cheese phase, I quickly picked up on her style of low-fat, low-sodium, heavy on the fruits and veggies eating habits. But there was NO WAY I was going to eat squash!!Lucky for me, that soon changed.
Spaghetti squash was her way of easing me into the squash eating experience. There was no doubt about it, the first time I saw her eating sauce out of a spaghetti squash bowl, I was hooked… it was fun food.
Preparing this meal is twofold, there’s the sauce and the squash. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the squash in half (not the long way but the short way, so that the two halves represent deep bowls), and remove all of the seeds. Add about an inch of water to the bottom of a rectangular baking dish then place the squash, open side down over the liquid. Place on the middle rack in the oven and cook for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. After about 30 minutes, flip a piece over and run a fork along the meat of the squash. Is the pieces easily loosen from the edge (like strands of spaghetti) then it is probably done, if not, flip back over and cook for 10 more minutes.
The sauce – chopped zucchini, small onion, garlic cloves, rosemary, basil, crushed red pepper, and a large can of chopped organic fire roasted tomatoes, olive oil (and some wine if you choose). The order you add the ingredients when creating a sauce is key. For starters, heat some olive oil in a deep rimmed skillet/pan. Saute the zucchini and crushed pepper and rosemary until the zucchini browns slightly at the edges. Add the onion, toss until translucent and then drop in the garlic. Be careful he garlic does not burn. If you have a little red wine around, splash in a few tablespoons, toss for a minute and then add the chopped tomatoes, basil and a bit more wine (if using). Bring to a boil then reduce to medium low heat until the squash is done cooking.
For the pictured serving, I then cut the squash into quarters and served with a zucchini sauce atop. Normally, I would simply leave the squash halved and pour the sauce inside (as if the squash was a large bowl). As you begin to eat the squash, the meat pulls off the skin in thin strands just like spaghetti.
The pictures for this dish are not the greatest, I was cooking for company and we just wanted to eat… but it’s such a good meal that lousy pictures don’t make a difference. One bite and you’re hooked on healthy goodness!