Tuesday, October 18, 2011

roasted spaghetti squash with marinara and "endorsements"

roasted spaghetti squash with marinara
Hey there.  It's truly fall here in Indiana.  After a lovely week or so of cool nights and warm breezy dry days, the chilly cold rains have set in.  So the ovens are back in play full of seasonal cooking and baking.  Yum!  Kelly was home for her final school fall break a week ago and she requested spaghetti squash with meatballs and marinara.

My last trip to the Broad Ripple Farmers' Market yielded squash of all shapes and sizes so I had a cute 2-person spaghetti squash.  I read about roasting them in Whole Living magazine and really wanted to give it a go.  I'm usually pretty underwhelmed with spaghetti squash.  I can now tell you that roasting is the way to go.

I am fully capable of making meatballs from scratch, but the frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joe's are pretty delicious for the few minutes it takes to warm them up.  This would be if you remembered correctly and the meatballs you could see plain as day in your mind's eye were actually in the freezer.  Which as you might note mine existed only in my mind's eye and not in my freezer.

Okay then, we're pretty hungry so we vote meatless and instead use a very gorgeous quart canning jar of tomatoes that my best friend (and a girl I'd vote not terribly likely to) canned last summer at her equally gorgeous home in Michigan.  Susan saved the day!  Canned tomatoes from the grocery would do too if you don't have a friend that cans (and still, I am amazed that I do).

This comes together quickly.  Make the sauce while you roast the squash.  Serve with a nice crisp green salad.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Marinara

one spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
olive oil
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
one medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
one quart tomatoes or one 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped or diced
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
Parmesan or Parmesan/Romano/Asiago blend shredded cheese

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Halve the squash and use a sturdy spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard.  Place the squash halves on a baking sheet or in a baking pan cut-side up.  Brush the flesh with about one tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake 40 minutes or until browning and tender.  While the squash bakes, make your sauce.

In a large saucepan or saute pan, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Over medium heat saute the onion until translucent.  Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar and bring sauce to a low boil.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes to blend flavors.  Taste for seasoning and correct as needed.

When the squash is all nice and roasted, remove the pan from the oven and use a fork to scrape out the flesh in spaghetti-like strands into a serving bowl or directly onto your dinner plates.  Top with sauce and cheese as desired.


Extra bonus feature:  product "endorsements"

Yes, I think Costco should sponsor me but they'd have to share my love with Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Muir Glen, King Arthur Flour and Le Creuset.  If you've been reading, you'll know I have a profound fondness for my collection of Le Creuset cookware, poterie and serving pieces.  You'll see their happy colors in a lot of my photos.  Le Creuset is worth every penny to me, but is seriously expensive.  You can find porcelain glazed, cast iron cookware of other brands and I can't imagine they are very different than my lovely French pieces.  I've bought some Le Creuset at Costco, but this year they have their very own Kirkland brand.  I kinda liked the pretty red pan they were featuring at my Costco a week or two ago and it's about 1/3 the price of Le Creuset.  This is the shape and size of pan that I use almost every day (I made my marinara sauce in it).  Mine does not have a long handle which makes it easier to fit in the oven or on the grill, but for $49.99 it's probably worth a try.


My second featured product is one very delicious and truly easy pancake mix.  I love making pancakes from scratch.  Some day I should share my whole-wheat buttermilk pancake recipe which is itself truly easy, but for now go out and try this mix that I really love.  I buy mine at Meijer, so look for it at a grocer near you.  The Baker Mills, Kodiak Cakes, 100% whole grain Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix comes in Buttermilk and Honey or Whole Wheat, Oats and Honey.  All you add is water.  All the ingredients are recognizable, simple and wholesome.  Heat up your griddle and melt about one teaspoon or so of unsalted butter on the pan swirling it to coat.  Pour out your flapjack batter and cook over medium heat until the surface of the cakes starts to bubble.  Flip your flapjacks and cook another two minutes or so.  That's it.

This was another Kelly request and we made them on her half-birthday (yes, 21 1/2 is still cause to celebrate) so I got out some frozen blueberries from Michigan and heated them in a saucepan with a little sugar (maybe one cup berries and 1or 2 T sugar) to make a warm blueberry sauce.  Mmmmm....

oh Lord, it's sideways again and my IT department is super busy at college, sorry!
Happy Fall!  Stay warm and dry!  Come into lululemon and I can help you with that!

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