Earlier this week I had a serious craving for spaghetti squash. Why? I don’t really know. But all day long I knew that I was eating spaghetti squash for dinner. It was a pretty long day at the office (most of this week has been long days in advance our our imminent departure), so on my way out the door I googled a quick, easy, and delicious spaghetti squash recipe.
The meal that appealed to me most was ‘Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling‘ on Epicurious. This was a little bit of a departure for me, as I have never before used spaghetti squash as if it was a pasta, I usually just have it as a side vegetable (albeit a super fun side vegetable)!
But boy am I glad I did. I really just used the epicurious recipe as inspiration. This recipe is neat because you can make it as hard or as easy as you want; the recipe called for pre-made tomato sauce (which I abhor) and for pork sausage. I made my own delicious tomato sauce and used hot italian sausage. Mom, I know you’re reading, this would be an awesome one for you guys to make with leftover dad’s spaghetti sauce! It would be incredibly easy! That same comment applies to anyone with leftover spaghetti sauce that is sitting in their freezer waiting to be eaten!
The epicurious recipe has you microwave the spaghetti squash. I rarely use our microwave (it’s never going to win any microwave awards) so I baked it instead! The hardest part of this meal is cutting the sqaush in half. Seriously, cutting a spaghetti squash (or any squash, really) in half lengthwise takes a big ass knife and a heck of a lot of muscle. I’ve got the former, the latter is more of a problem! But, I powered through it.
What goes in my tomato sauce really depends on whether is got meat or no meat (and if its got meat, what kind), what fresh and dried spices I have on hand, and whether or not I have a spice packet. I always use onions, garlic, one can of diced tomatoes and one can of garlic tomato paste. If I’m not using a spice packet (which I am using less and less frequently) I usually add a bay leaf, dried basil, dried sage, chilli powder and chilli flakes. I often add green pepper. Sometimes I add fresh tomatoes. All I know is it usually tastes delicious.
Part of the fun in this recipe is that you get to spaghetti-fy all of the squash and mix it up with the tomato sauce, stuff it back into the squash shells, and then bake and serve. Who doesn’t like eating dinner out of a sqaush? Seriously, it’s super fun!
Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling
Serves 2 a really big dinner or 4 as side dishes
Inspired by: Epicurious
- 1 1kg (2lb) spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
- 1 pound sausage [I used hot italian sausage]
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced [As usual, I used about four]
- 1-2 cups tomato sauce Either purchased or home-made
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Cook squash. Either bake face down in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or follow these epicurious instructions Wrap squash halves in plastic wrap [Note: I do not recommend wrapping anything that is going in the microwave in plastic wrap, maybe place face down in 1 inch of water instead?]. Cook 1 at a time in microwave on high until tender, about 8 minutes. Pierce plastic to allow steam to escape. Cool.
- Meanwhile, sauté sausage, onion and garlic in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage browns and vegetables are tender, breaking up sausage with back of spoon, about 12 minutes. Mix in tomato sauce. [If you are making your own tomato sauce, you can add the rest of your tomato sauce ingredients into the same skillet with meat, onions, etc.]
- Using fork, pull out squash strands from shells, leaving shells intact. Mix squash strands into sausage mixture. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into squash shells. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)
- Arrange filled squash halves on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if previously chilled). If using as side dishes, cut each half in half and serve. If eating as dinner, serve whole halves.