Marking the End of Fall with Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

The lights were bright in the room and the sun had not yet set outside. My two group members and I huddled around the crinkled, brown paper bag with anticipation. It was heavy. I mean, really heavy. What could it possibly be? It was becoming clear that the mystery vegetable sitting harmlessly inside of that bag was not a bell pepper. Or spinach. Finally, we reached in and wrestled out a large, oblong yellow vegetable and plopped it down on the counter of the university food lab. Ok, now what is it? I had never seen such a vegetable before, like a jaundiced pumpkin that had spent too many hours on a stretch torture device. What did it do to deserve that?

And that was my first introduction to a spaghetti squash. We cooked it, halved, in the microwave and shredded it into spaghetti noodle-like strings, then we mixed it with several different types of cheese and sour cream and baked it up to golden, melted perfection. Whatever this new vegetable was, I was hooked.

I now know it’s Fall when I walk into my grocery store and see squashes for $.79. I get extra giddy at that point, and the high lasts until just about this time of year when I walk through my produce aisle and see that the price has skyrocketed to a whopping $1.29. Ok, maybe I can still spring it, but the knowledge that it was once nearly half the price confirms the sad truth: fall is on its way out and winter is on its way in. Sure, winter brings with it its own joys and giddy-worthy foods, but I do miss my squash.

Before the season’s truly through, though, and while you can still at least find spaghetti squashes in stores, even if they are getting pricier, I wanted to share with you one of the very delicious spaghetti squash recipes I tried this season. I honestly have to say that I prefer a good, roasted spaghetti squash to a pile of spaghetti noodles, and during the Fall I have a difficult time justifying boiling up a pot of pasta when I can have this inexpensive nutrition superstar on my plate under a big pile of sauce instead. So, naturally, this recipe for spaghetti squash with a pomodoro sauce was right up my alley.

This recipe is not vegetarian, but it certainly can be. Along those lines, it could also pretty easily be made vegan. One thing, though, that I’ve started to notice as I’ve cut back on the amount of meat that I eat (largely a result of really only eating it out, rather than buying it and making it for myself) is that there are certain meats that I genuinely enjoy eating. Chicken breast, turkey – I can live without those guys. But there’s something about sausage (generally lean chicken sausage, admittedly – I can’t eat too much pork without feeling a little uneasy. I’m sure it’s 500% psychological), a really good (grassfed) beef burger, and lamb that I actually look forward to when I do get around to eating them. This recipe uses the first of those three – chicken sausage – and I think it adds a nice, spicy edge to the sauce. That’s just my opinion, though.

When I made this pomodoro sauce, I added in swiss chard but did so a little too overzealously – there wound up not being enough sauce and too much chard, so I’ve scaled the leafy green back to adjust the recipe below. Overall, it was spicy and robustly tomato-y, and the absolute best tomato-based sauce I have made to date. And when I write in my notes that it doesn’t even need cheese, you know you’re looking at one fine recipe!

Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro Sauce, adapted from Whipped
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
1 (1 ½ pound) spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
4-6 links of lean chicken sausage, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
15 ounces (no salt added) diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup swiss chard, chopped
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

The Method
Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Halve the squash lengthwise and remove all of the seeds.1 Lay the halves, cut side down, on the sheet and bake until its shell can be easily pierced, approximately 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the garlic, onion and sausage slices in the olive oil over medium heat. After approximately 5 minutes, stir in the remaining ingredients and cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for roughly 30 minutes.2 If the sauce begins to boil, lower the heat. When the squash is finished, remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a fork, scrape the squash flesh crosswise to pull spaghetti-like strands from the shell. Top with sauce and serve.

1Feel free to reserve the seeds for roasting! Simply rinse them well until all pulp has been removed, dry completely, and toss with any oils and spices you like before roasting at around 375° for just 10 minutes. Let cool and you have a great snack or salad topping!
2My sauce came together in significantly less time than this, but I was also working with a recipe that had been divided by 4, as I was only cooking for myself. Just keep an eye on it to be sure. You want it to reduce slightly and for the swiss chard to be wilted.


  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment