The following is one of my favorite weeknight meals.
It comes together easily, and serves as a deeply nourishing and satisfying dinner after a long day. It’s healthy to boot. With a squash base, this meal is high in fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium.
A simple tomato sauce, a couple of add-ins, and some good cheese and you’ll have an instant dinner table mainstay.
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 medium zucchini
1 ball fresh mozzarella
1/4 cup Parmesan or similar hard cheese
1 32 oz can peeled tomatoes (San Marzano are best)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup soppressata, other hard salami or uncured pepperoni (sliced into strips)
Handful of basil leaves
1 teaspoon to 1 1/2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
- Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon
- Place squash cut side down on a cookie sheet. If you’re using a sheet with a non-stick surface, it should be fine on it’s own, but if not–place a sheet of parchment paper on the cookie sheet to avoid sticking.
Bake the spaghetti squash for 30 minutes.
While the squash cooks, chop the zucchini into small 1/2-inch chunks, and place it in a large bowl. Deposit the sliced salami into the bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Open the can of peeled tomatoes, and strain the tomatoes from the liquid.
In a high-powered blender, place the following: The peeled tomatoes–tomatoes only, not the liquid, 3 cloves garlic, red pepper flakes (as much as you want depending on how spicy you like your sauce), extra virgin olive oil, black pepper.
Blend on low, gradually moving to medium power until the ingredients are well combined and the sauce becomes a light red, almost pink color, set aside.
After baking the squash for 30 minutes, remove from oven, reduce the heat to 400–but leave the oven on.
Check to see if the squash is done by pricking the squash with a fork. You should be able to get the fork through the skin and flesh of the squash, but there should be some resistance. If the squash is too soft, it is likely overdone and won’t be as spaghetti-like.
Carefully turn over each half of the squash, and shred the flesh into “spaghetti” strands with a fork. Use an oven mitt on your other hand to steady the squash and keep from burning yourself.
Once all the squash flesh is in strands, scrape it into the bowl with the zucchini and salami.
Pour about half of the tomato sauce into the bowl and mix well, season with salt and pepper.
You will not need all of the tomato sauce, especially since the spaghetti squash has a lot of moisture as well. Add more as needed until the mixture is only barely soupy. The sauce will keep well in the refrigerator and works well as a pizza or pasta sauce.
Pour the squash mixture into a casserole dish.
Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top. Pull the mozzarella into smaller pieces with your hands, and then distribute evenly over the casserole, along with a few basil leaves.
Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or until the casserole is no longer “soupy” and the cheese is slightly brown.