Recipe Box: Spaghetti Squash Pasta

IMG_1580 There’s a delicate art to making a red sauce. I know so because I watched my Italian father and aunt spend years refining and perfecting the process of our family recipe. A good sauce takes a minimum of 8-10 hours, beginning with the slow process of sweating the onions on a low heat. Of bringing the garlic to the perfect light golden caramel color. Of balancing the tomatoes vs. herbs vs. red wine ratio and then letting it all slow cook on a low simmer for hours. But the peak of a great sauce comes on its second and even third day, after it’s really matured in its acidity.

IMG_1462 So you see, I was born into being a bit of a sauce snob. When my boyfriend made me his spaghetti squash pasta and sauce, I entered in with a biased mind. And after the first bite, all my preconceived opinions were totally blown to pieces as I melted into the amazingness of this dish. This was over a year ago and this dish keeps returning to our table when we’re hungry for something quick, light and satisfying. I’ve become a total lover of his quick pasta recipe, with its savory hints of cumin and cayenne to change things up from our traditional sauce. All in all, this recipe takes about 40 minutes to make, from roasting the squash to making the sauce. Even our meat loving friends approved of this gluten-free, vegan, paleo-friendly variation of this Italian classic. Add this to your repertoire for quick and easy dinner recipes, I know it’ll quickly get your seal of approval, too…

IMG_1500 SPAGHETTI SQUASH PASTA 

Spaghetti
1 large spaghetti squash
1-2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Poke the spaghetti squash with a fork around its circumference to allow steam to vent.  Place the whole squash in the oven on a baking sheet. Cook for 40-50 minutes, or until soft but not burnt. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before handling.  Cut in half and scrape the seeds out with a spoon.  Next, use to scrape the squash lengthwise to remove the cooked strands of “spaghetti” from the squash halves. Scrape directly into your serving bowl. Toss with a little ghee or olive oil and sprinkle lightly salt and pepper.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Quick Tomato Sauce
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
salt & pepper, to taste

While the squash is cooking, heat a medium saucepan with olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Next, add the garlic, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook for another minute or two until lightly golden. Then, add 1/2 of the chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down into a sauce.  Add the rest of the tomatoes, herbs and spices and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes on a low simmer. Season with salt and pepper.  When ready to eat, pour the mixture over the hot squash pasta and serve with fresh basil on top.  I also love this pesto recipe with this pasta!

Makes 4 servings

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