Spaghetti Squash in Eco Friendly Bowls

December 04, 2020.  Dare I say, this might be the perfect recipe for you environmentally active, young ladies- plant based, with a compostable cooking and serving vessel- you don’t even need a fancy Spiralizer to get gluten free, veggie “pasta”!  It’s also simple to make and looks great on a plate for an easy and impromptu dinner party!  

Prep Time: 15 minutes- CAREFUL cutting the squash!

Cook Time:  50-60 minutes,

Servings: 4

Get Your Stuff Out.

Easy “Why Would You Ever Buy Jarred?” Tomato Sauce– you could easily double, triple, etc this recipe and freeze in portions for your convenience.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2-3 fat garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes- crushed with your clean, bare hands, a potato masher or some other crushing or pureeing device. You could use canned, crushed or pureed tomatoes, if you must, but don’t.

Spaghetti Squash

  • 2 reasonably sized spaghetti squash
  • 2 teaspoons of canola or other neutral oil
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • 1-2 cups of mozzarella or other good, melting cheese or cheese substitute, optional

Cook and Play.  

Play Mambo Italiano by Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s aunt BTW) and Mangia Bene!

  1. Easy “Why Would You Ever Buy Jarred?” Tomato Sauce.  Preheat a saucepan or Dutch Oven over medium low heat.  Add extra virgin olive oil; stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes.
  2. Adjust the heat so the garlic is at the barest of simmers, so you don’t burn it bitter. After the garlic starts to take on some color, pour in tomatoes to simmer as long as you like.  The sauce tastes bright and delicious, even after only 10-15 minutes, but if you want it thicker and richer, simmer it until it taste as thick and rich as you like- 30-60 minutes.
  3. Spaghetti Squash with Eco Friendly Bowls.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees to cook on middle rack.  Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Many squash can put up quite a fight when you try to cut them (who can blame them), so be careful not to have your squash “roll off” your knife onto your hand to disastrous results when you are cutting into it. Here’s a quick video of someone who survived cutting and prepping a spaghetti squash!  
  4. Spoon the seeds out of each squash cavity, brush each half with canola oil and season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Place squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake until the flesh is tender and easily pulls away from the shell with a fork- about 45-50 minutes.
  5. Take squash out of the oven, flip over and fill each cavity with Easy “Why Would You Ever Buy Jarred?” Tomato Sauce (you will have extra sauce to serve on the side) and top with cheese.  Return to the oven until sauce is warm and cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve each half on a plate, with extra Tomato Sauce on the side.  If you haven’t figured it out yet- although I’m sure you have because you’re both very smart- the shell of the squash is the bowl and you scrape the “pasta” from the sides of the shell/bowl with a fork and into the sauce and cheese- so, not only is it eco-friendly, it’s interactive, too!

The Lecture.

Whole Canned Tomatoes vs. All Other Tomatoes. One of my top 5 Pantry Items, along with beans, pastas, broth concentrates and  grains, are cans of good quality, whole tomatoes.  Why whole, you may ask; although, I doubt you’re even reading this at this point, let along thinking about it, but I will answer nonetheless- if you have whole tomatoes, you have crushed, puréed, diced, stewed or whatever tomatoes! Not to mention, there aren’t any of the additives used to keep some of the processed tomatoes firm. With whole tomatoes, you decide how crushed, pureed, diced or stewed you want your tomatoes and not some faceless, and likely soulless, tomato corporation- Fight the Man!  Also, be aware that when you crush whole tomatoes with your clean hands, potato masher, big fork, etc, they can turn into little tomato grenades that explode tomato juice- so take this into account when applying force to tomatoes in the crushing process! Yes, you could crush/puree the tomatoes with a processor/blender/stick blender, but why add to your clean up? PS- As for tomato paste, you could make it with whole tomatoes, but that would take more time then we have, so tomato paste, while not in my Top 5, would certainly make it into my Top 10!  

Also, don’t let anyone ever give you grief for using canned tomatoes- they are picked and preserved at their peak of deliciousness and so much better than out of season “fresh” supermarket tomatoes.  Of course, if you want to use in season tomatoes to make this sauce, you get nothing but respect from me.  As for me, I’m just too old and lazy for that!

Such a Versatile Sauce!  Easy “Why Would You Ever Buy Jarred?” Tomato Sauce is one of those recipes you can easily memorize and have ready to use for countless recipes and variations.  

Use this sauce with: lasagna, pizza, eggplant/chicken parmesan, minestrone, pasta fagioli, ziti, etc. Enhance this sauce with: -onions and dried/fresh Italian herbs for a simple marinara sauce; -onion, carrots, celery, tomato paste, wine, ground meat/lentils for a bolognese style sauce; -garlic, capers, olives, and anchovies for a puttanesca sauce; -mild and/or hot chili peppers, feta, cumin, coriander and fresh herbs for shakshuka; -ginger, hot peppers, garam masala, coconut milk/yogurt and cilantro for a style of curry- the list goes on!

The butter option in the sauce, is especially for the one of you daughters who finds extra virgin olive oil in a simple tomato sauce a bit too aggressive.  I like that you have the confidence to think of variations on a recipe and don’t let anyone tell you butter is less “authentic” than EVOO because Marcella Hazan, considered by many to be the doyenne*of Italian cuisine, chose butter over EVOO in in her classic recipe for Tomato Sauce.

* I had to look up the meaning of “doyenne”. When you were younger, you kids always hated it when I told you to “Look it up!”, whenever you asked me what a word meant. The internet was in its infancy back then, so you had to lug out an actual dictionary, certainly the biggest book you had ever encountered to that point, to answer your query and for some reason you didn’t think that was fun.   Any-who— it means a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field.  Sort of odd for Wikipedia to use a French word to describe and Italian cooking icon, but, as usual, I digress.

Keyword: spaghetti squash, vegan option, Italian, easy entertaining

© 2020 All rights reserved.  Dad’s Dinner Diary

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