The other day I was shopping at my local Trader Joe’s and came across Spaghetti squash at an amazing price, $2.29 for a huge one! What a steal! I was looking for a recipe to use it for, and stumbled across this one, a hearty meat sauce served over the squash. Now I don’t like to think of Spaghetti squash as a substitute for Spaghetti pasta, because I feel it the texture isn’t very similar. But it sure is lighter on the carbs. This dinner keeps the calories light, but still fills you up! Enjoy!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
8 cups cooked spaghetti squash (from 2 medium squashes, about 6 pounds total)
Salt and fresh pepper, to taste
For the Meat sauce:
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef, 95% lean)
28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I prefer San Marzano)
1/4 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh basil, and a little more for garnish
Sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane. Season with salt and pepper, and bake for about 1 hour, or longer if needed, on a baking sheet, cut side up. (If you prefer the microwave, cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and fibers and place on a microwave safe dish and cover. Microwave 8-9 minutes or until soft.)
In a large deep sauté pan, melt butter and add oil. Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté on medium-low for about 3 to 4 minutes, until soft. Add the turkey or beef and season with salt. Brown the meat and cook, breaking it into smaller pieces with your spoon until cooked through. When cooked, add the tomatoes and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and simmer until it reduces a bit, then add bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning and cover, reducing heat to low. Simmer at least an hour, stirring occasionally. At the end, add the fresh basil and reserve some for garnish.
When spaghetti squash is cooked, let it cool for about 10 minutes. When cool, use a fork to remove flesh, which will come out in spaghetti looking strands. Keep covered and set-aside keeping warm until sauce is ready. Serve topped with meat sauce and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Recipe inspired by Skinnytaste.