What better excuse is there than a snowstorm to stay cuddled up inside all day in your PJ's? Your right, none. I am thoroughly taking advantage of catching up on studying, sorting mail, reading my favorite blogs, sleeping in, and cuddling with Magic. I could really get use to this snowstorm thing.
Yesterday, the cold weather made me want to get a pot of sauce simmering and sip on a glass of red wine. I mentioned this to my husband early yesterday morning and he said, "That is because your Italian--most people would want soup." This made me laugh because he is probably right. Comfort food is all about what you grew up eating, and we ate A LOT of pasta. The smell of a nice, hearty red sauce simmering all day on the stove makes me happy.
In an effort to cook once, eat twice, I devised somewhat of a game plan for our Sunday dinner. I had been craving spaghetti squash, so what does one do but search Pinterest for recipe ideas. I pinned squash recipes up the wazoo but kept coming back to the "baked" spaghetti squash dishes. These recipes are what inspired my Italian Baked Squashgetti. I took the general idea but substituted my homemade sauce. I knew Cody wouldn't be keen on the squash so I made him a separate pot of penne noodles, his favorite. I am going to use the other half of the spaghetti squash today for a Mediterranean-type of dish.
Italian Baked Squashgetti
3 lb spaghetti squash
1/2-1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb of Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Combine crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, brown sugar, and all spices
in a large sauce pot. Heat on medium-low.
2. Heat oil in large skillet and saute garlic and onion for 2-3 minutes. Add sausage, brown.
Drain grease. Add sausage, onion, and garlic to sauce.
(To add more flavor, do not drain grease. For this recipe, I drained grease to cut back on
fat and calories.)
3. Let sauce simmer on stove as long as possible to develop the flavor.
1. Cut 3 lb. spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place each half face down
on a foil-lined baking sheet. (Spray foil with olive oil cooking spray.) Bake for approximately
50 minutes at 375. When squash is cooked, you should be able to take fork and gently pull
apart the strands. Turn oven to broil when squash is done cooking.
2. Gently pull squash strands from the rind and put into mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of warm
sauce to bowl, gently mix sauce with spaghetti squash.
3. Add sauce-coated squash back into rind. Top spaghetti squash with mozzarella cheese.
Put back into oven (on broil) for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Garnish with fresh parsley.
If you use my sauce recipe, you will have plenty of sauce leftover. You can make 6-8 servings of Squashgetti with my sauce recipe. Buy 1 squash for every 2 servings. If you have leftover sauce, it freezes wonderfully.
Using the spaghetti squash in place of noodles is a great way to cut back on calories and add vegetables to your diet. One cup of spaghetti squash is approximately 40 calories vs. 200 calories in one cup of noodles. In my recipe, I use real Italian sausage, but you could substitute turkey sausage. I don't like to stray too far from my roots when it comes to sauce, so I always stick with real pork sausage. Have fun with this recipe--it is a fun and funky twist on baked pasta.
If you are looking for other Italian-themed dinner ideas you may like my BoBo's Baked Pasta
, or Easy Chicken Parmesan
. I hope these recipes give you as much comfort as they give me. Happy Cooking!