Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cooking By The Seat Of Your Pants! - featuring Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Mediterranean-Spiced Tomato Sauce

I've talked before here about how I feel my greatest asset in the kitchen is my resourcefulness. It really is, and I take great pride in it when I remember to, but most of the time, when food merely gets on the table but it's not necessarily anything to shout (or post) about, I don't think much about it.

But sometimes - the best times, really - after a long snowy cabin-feverish day, a day when my under-the-weather children spend half of it crying or whining to be in my arms and the other half actually in my arms (my arms can only handle half a day), and I really just want to order take-out because being in the kitchen sounds awful and potentially dangerous (see above: children in arms), but I'm conflicted - maybe I've just looked over the bills and am horrified by the amount of money we've spent dining out recently, maybe I weighed myself this morning (and that's enough about that), or maybe I'm just in need of that sense of accomplishment I get from making a great dinner against all odds (refrigerator is bare, pantry is uninspiring, produce on my counter falls in the "too hard" category, it's mighty close to dinner time). When this happens, I rally. I take inventory - spice cupboard looks good, that lemon has potential, I bought those jarred tomatoes for exactly this kind of evening, hey! Beckett's not allergic to spaghetti squash!

spaghetti squash 005spaghetti squash 009spaghetti squash 010

And then, with the help of Thomas the Train, via streamable Netflix, I get to it. Roast the squash, zest the lemon, chop some aromatics, settle on a spice profile. It comes together. I expected it to come together. What I didn't expect was for it to be the most delicious thing I've eaten at home since I can remember. Definitely our best (not to mention healthiest) meal in weeks.

spaghetti squash 013

And so I pat myself on the back and then go back for seconds. 

Oh my gosh, spaghetti squash. You did NOT let me down!

spaghetti squash 012

And you make a wonderful compost container.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Mediterranean-Spiced Tomato Sauce
Yield: 4-5 servings
From me

1 large spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Half an onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3+ cloves garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 24- to 28-oz jar tomato sauce or tomatoes
1 cube vegetable bouillon (or a teaspoon of Herbamare or sea salt)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon aleppo pepper (optional - could use 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes instead too)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil (optional)
Large handful or two of baby spinach 

Other additions: garbanzo or other white beans, feta or parmesan cheese, fresh herbs (oregano, basil, tarragon, marjoram)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare the spaghetti squash by cutting it in half lengthwise, removing the seeds, rubbing the inside of each half with a drizzle of olive oil, then seasoning with salt and pepper. Place face down on a lined baking tray and place in the oven – cook for about 45 minutes. Once it's done, remove it from oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes until it's manageable.

Once squash has been in the oven for about a half hour, start on the sauce. In a skillet over medium heat, heat a little oil and add onion and carrot to pan. Saute, stirring every couple minutes, until soft, maybe browning a little, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and lemon zest and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes (with juices) or sauce, bouillon cube, paprika, aleppo pepper, and oregano. Bring to simmer and then reduce heat to low. Cook for about ten minutes, allowing flavors to marry.

Meanwhile, using two forks, shred the flesh of the spaghetti squash and place it in a bowl. Add a little more salt and pepper.

Back to the sauce: stir in honey or sugar and butter or olive oil, if using. Throw in the spinach and incorporate into sauce, stirring until just wilted. Pour sauce over spaghetti squash, add any of the optional additions above or others you can think of, and serve. Babies love this! Three year olds not so much... but the one in my house only really eats bread and cheese, so perhaps she's not a good representative.

No comments:

Post a Comment