Spaghetti Squash on the Half Shell

Spaghetti Squash is one of my favorite squash’s to cook with. When cooked, the squash has an incredibly unique texture that almost exactly replicates cooked pasta. I discovered this fruit (weird I know!) two years ago and haven’t stopped using it as a healthy alternative to its starchy counterpart. In this recipe, I replicated a baked ziti dish by cooking the squash & sauce separately, then mixing the two together using the shell as a natural dish. Make sure to top with cheese, as any good pasta dish has cheese as a main component. The result is an amazing combination of flavors that will leave you wanting more!

Serves:  3 +/- –  Cooktime: 1 hour+/-

INGREDIENTS:

SPAGHETTI SQUASH:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Basil Olive Oil, (original olive oil will do just fine)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

FRESH SPAGHETTI CREAM SAUCE:

  • 1/2 Vidalia Onion, Diced
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 Pound Hot Sausage or Hamburger
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Beefsteak Tomatoes, Diced
  • 3 Large Handfuls of Spinach, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup +/- Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Parsley, Minced
  • 10 Basil Leaves, Cut into Chiffonade

DIRECTIONS:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F. To prep, smash and mince garlic cloves. Dice onions, red peppers, and tomatoes. Finely mince parsley. Cut basil leaves into chiffonade. Roughly chop spinach.

2.) Prep the spaghetti squash. Place squash on a cutting board and slice off the stem. Cut the squash in half long-ways. Scoop out seeds and drizzle each half with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place squash on sheet, cut side up. Once oven is preheated, roast squash for 45 minutes.

3.) Meanwhile, let’s make the sauce. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, break up sausage or hamburger and cook for 7-8 minutes, until cooked through. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

4.) In the same saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan and let come to temperature. Add onions and bell pepper and let sauté for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional 90 seconds, stirring frequently to avoid garlic from burning. To the pan, add tomatoes, all seasonings (sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic salt, & oregano), tomato paste, and spinach. Cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.) Add water and heavy cream to pot and stir to incorporate. Add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Let simmer, covered, on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. With 5 minutes remaining, add fresh basil & parsley.

6.) Transfer to a glass bowl with high sides (I used a large Pyrex measuring bowl), and blend with an immersion blender for 10-15 seconds. A blender would work great as well.

7.) Remove squash from oven. Using two forks, lightly fluff the squash flesh up. Top with sauce (you might not be able to fit it all in depending on how large your squash is). If so there will be extra for serving. Top with remaining cheese. Place back in oven for 7-8 minutes, until cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!

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