Up until a month ago, I had only heard of spaghetti squash and hadn’t tried it because I was convinced it could not compete against pasta. I thought the texture would be too mushy or the taste would not jive with marinara sauce. One afternoon while shopping for groceries, I passed the squash section and couldn’t help but notice the spaghetti squash was on sale. Well, for 89 cents a pound, I figured I could give this vegetable a try. I used a recipe from the Food Network and I was extremely pleased with how it turned out! The squash was incredibly easy to prepare and shred into “spaghetti” strands, the meatballs were juicy and flavorful, and the sauce was delicious. Also, the texture of the squash was surprising: it is not mushy and it even twirled like pasta! The recipe makes quite a bit of sauce so I would recommend halving the meat/sauce part if you don’t want copious leftovers. I made the whole batch so I could use the sauce to make eggplant parmesean later this week. Enjoy!
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound ground sweet Italian sausage
2 large eggs
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 c. water
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Sprinkle the cut sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then brush both sides with olive oil. Put the squash, cut-side up, in a baking dish and roast 45 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Meanwhile, make the meatballs: Pulse the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, and parsley in a food processor to make a paste.
Transfer half of the vegetable paste to a bowl; add the ground sausage, ground turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, 1 cup parmesan, and 1 teaspoon salt and mix with your hands until just combined.
Form into two-inch meatballs (golf ball sized) and transfer to a baking sheet brushed with olive oil. Bake until firm but not cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Make the sauce: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining vegetable paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it looks dry (you can run a spoon through the mix without liquid pooling in the middle), about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes plus 1/2 cup water. Stir in the red pepper flakes, oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, then add the meatballs and simmer until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
Use two forks to scrape the spaghetti squash flesh into strands; transfer to a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons grated parmesan. Divide the squash among bowls and top each with some meatballs, sauce and the remaining 1 tablespoon parmesan.
Adapted from the Food Network.