Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

My coworker, who graciously contributed the large round zucchini I roasted and stuffed recently, also gave me a spaghetti squash. I cooked this vegetable last year and served it stringy, playing up its spaghetti-like quality. This year, since I had such luck stuffing the other squash, I decided to give that a try here too.

I went with a different flavor profile, a classic Italian mix of sausage, onion, bell pepper and tomato sauce with mozzarella. As I've found with these types of dishes, it works better to roast the squash and cook the stuffing separately, bringing the two together in the end just to heat them through and melt the cheese.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Adapted in part from a Bon Appétit recipe

1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
Vegetable oil (for brushing the squash if roasting, not needed if cooking in the microwave)
3/4 lb. mild Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
Salt, to taste
Pinch of red chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tbsp. fresh chopped sage
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Cook the squash: Cut the squash in half the long way (i.e. from the stem end to the base). Brush a baking dish with vegetable oil. Place the squash halves in the baking dish, cut-sides down. Roast in the for 50 minutes until the cut edges are lightly browned and the squash is softened. Allow to cool a bit. (Alternatively, you can use this method to cook the squash in the microwave, and it will be done in half the time).

3. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage, remove it from the pan and place it in a large bowl. Add olive oil, then, when hot, add the onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and a pinch of red chili pepper flakes, then add the thyme and sage. Sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the bowl with the sausage. Add the nutmeg and marinara sauce and stir to combine.

4. Place the cooked squash halves in a baking dish, cut-side up. Fill the hollow cavity with sausage-tomato filling, mounding the filling. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven until heated through and the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tomato sauce

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes
2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, a couple minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.


Giant Stuffed Zucchini

Spaghetti Squash with Sage and Brown Butter

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