Spaghetti Squash (or Not) Vegetarian (or Not) Casserole

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So – in an effort to eat more healthfully I was inclined to buy some spaghetti squash at Costco.  It may have been sort of an impulse buy – I had never seen spaghetti squash at Costco before and they were super inexpensive.  So then I had 2 huge spaghetti squash and I needed to figure out what to do with them. I was not having an extra creative day so I decided on faux spaghetti and meatless sauce (since I also bought a jumbo sized package of meatless Italian “sausage” at Costco a while back).

I started by cutting the squash in half length wise and scooping out the seeds with a ice cream scoop.  You can use a spoon, but the ice cream scoop works better and it is more fun. I put the squash cut side down in a large cake pan sprayed with cooking spray.  I put a little bit of vegetable broth in the pan, covered the pan with foil and put it in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.  I let them bake until they were tender (took a little over an hour, but I started checking them at 40 minutes) and once tender put them on the counter to cool.

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I browned the “sausage” in a pan with a little olive oil, a chopped onion and some fresh pressed garlic.  Once that was heated through (do you really have to cook meatless sausage?), I poured in a jar of pomodoro sauce (Trader Joe’s brand, but your favorite marinara, pomodoro or arrabiata).  I added a couple of heaping tablespoons of capers, a slug of decent red wine, a glug of balsamic vinegar, some crushed red pepper and some frozen basil (you could use fresh or dried if you want).  I heated it through and then dumped it in a small crock pot on low to let the flavors get friendly.

Once the squash cooled, I raked a fork through it to make the spaghetti like strands and scooped it into a bowl.  I let the sauce cook away for a few hours and then put everything in the fridge to chill out over night.

The next day I was feeling a little more created andI decided to make the squash and sauce into a casserole. I sprayed my casserole dish, mixed some sauce and some squash together and poured it in.  I threw some goat cheese (not a ton, just a an ounce or three) and grated a little good quality Parmigiano Reggiano on top.  I put it in a 375 degrees and went to do 30 minutes of yoga (the yoga is optional).  Once it was hot and bubbly, I took it out and served it with some steamed broccoli.  My husband said about three times how good it was.

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If you are not feeling the need to be meatless or if you want to use actual pasta – do it!  If you want to stir in some ricotta cheese – go for it.  This can be as naughty or as nice as you want it to be.  Use your favorite turkey Italian sausage and stick with the squash for a slightly naughty dish. Feeling a little naughtier than that?  Use pork sausage – I wont tell.  Not into the squash or the meatless sausage – use real pasta and real sausage – you only live once.  Feeling extra naughty – use the real bad sausage (and by bad, I mean good) and real pasta and stir in a some ricotta – you can go for a run tomorrow.  Play with it and make it your own.  Have fun with your food.

Find Your Om Balance – Terri