Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce

I’ve gotten a few people intrigued by spaghetti squash, and some who haven’t had it in awhile are looking for new ways to use it.  In fact, Katie, from ...and a glass of red wine was asking for a spaghetti squash recipe to make for her brother and fiance.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get this post up on Thursday, since The Bug decided that a 1 hour nap was sufficient, and then proceeded to be a cranky, miserable mess for the rest of the day.  And I think she came up with a faboulous-sounding dinner that incorporates some of my favorites – scallops, mushrooms, and butternut squash.  But maybe she’ll give this a try another time.  I hope you do, too.

And if you aren’t quite ready to make the spaghetti squash leap, try the sauce over some spaghetti or penne or whatever pasta shape you prefer.  It is really yummy!

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce

And look, even easy enough that a not-quite-2-year old can help…

Mama and The Bug Cooking Tomato Cream Sauce

And I know I have been on an Italian kick, giving you this and this over the past few days.  Maybe I a using tomatoes and garlic to counteract all of last weekend’s chocolate.  I promise, I’ll be switching it up a bit this week.

Do you have a “go-to” meal that you like to serve to guests?

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients

Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce1 spaghetti squash (or pasta of your choice)

3 sausage links (I like to use hot turkey sausages, but you can use the meat of your choice, and mild or hot)

Half of a large, sweet onion, chopped

1/4 c red wine

One 15 oz. can or half of a 28 oz. can (about 1 1/2 c) crushed tomatoes (I ALWAYS used Tuttorosso when I am using crushed tomatoes.  It has a little basil in it, so if you use a brand without basil, you may want to add a little fresh or dried)

1/2 t dried oregano

1/2 kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1/4 c heavy cream

1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

1 T fresh parsley

1/2 c frozen peas (optional)

1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

2-3 T grated parmesan cheese for topping

Directions

1.  Cook the spaghetti squash and scrape out the “noodles” (see this post for my oven method and a link to a microwave method).  Preheat or keep your oven set at 400ºF.

2.  Heat a pan over medium heat, and spray with olive oil or cooking spray.

3.  Squeeze the sausage out of the casings into the pan, and cook until is starts to get nice and brown.

4.  Add the onions and saute until translucent and soft.

5.  Add the wine, tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper, and simmer until it is hot and the onions are fully cooked.

6.  Stir in the heavy cream, parsley, 1/4 c parmesan cheese, and frozen peas.

7.  Pour enough sauce over the squash noodles (or pasta) until it is as saucy as you like (I like mine less saucy as my husband, so there may be some extra sauce, which you can serve on the side).

8.  Pour the mixture into a glass baking pan or casserole dish (I use the 1 1/2 qt. oval Corningware) that has been sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.

9. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until hot and bubble, and the cheese is golden brown.

Enjoy!

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Tomato Cream Sauce closeup

 

 

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Eggplant Parm-lasagna with “Faux”-lognese Sauce and Being Part of the Foodie Blogosphere

I am definitely a newbie when it comes to writing a blog.  Really, I am even a newbie when it comes to recording my recipes.  Yes, I am a scientist, and in the lab I was always very exact with my measurements.  I think that is why I love baking – formulas, measurements, acids, bases, heat, reactions, solids, liquids, and gases.  It truly is a science.  Cooking is definitely more of an art.  I am not an artist, but when I cook, it is more of a little of this, a little of that, unless I am following someone else’s recipe.  So I decided to start making cooking like a science experiment, and my spiral notebook of recipes is my new laboratory notebook.  Just now it say salt and baking soda, instead of sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate.

But I am also a newbie with really, seriously reading blogs.  I had a couple I checked out pretty frequently in the past.  Mainly Weelicious and Fix Me a Snack, trying to come up with healthy meals and snacks (and even healthier spins on treats) for The Bug.  For awhile, I was determined that no cracker from a box shall cross his lips.  And, while I have made a fair share of homemade Wheat Thins and Cheez-Its, my delusions did not last long.  Especially when we go to the playgroup at my church, and my kid steals Goldfish from all of the other kids.  After he has already eaten his entire bowl of Cheerios, raisins, and freeze dried apples.

But I digress.  So as I have been reading blogs, chatting on Facebook with other bloggers, I started to notice some chatter about “stealing recipes.”  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen even had this gem in her hilarious series “Ryan Gosling, Food Blogger’s Husband” series of pictures.  Well, I stumbled upon a recipe at Pink Parsley for Lasagna-Stuffed Portabellos, and immediately began drooling and planning when I would make this amazing-sounding recipe.  Lasagna without pasta – I’m in!

Friday…  yes, it’s Lent, this is perfect for Friday.  And I am going to Mom’s.  I love mushrooms.  Mom loves mushrooms.  Sam loves mushrooms.  Larry… uhhh…  hates mushrooms.  Grrr!  But I still wanted lasagna, so I decide to change it up a bit to a version that we would all enjoy.

Spaghetti Squash in Pan

Well, we all loved it, so I had to post it.  Except the whole time I have been thinking about it, I’ve been paranoid that Josie (as if I know her well-enough to be on a first name basis) would think I was stealing her recipe.  I don’t want to be rejected by the blogosphere after I just joined it!!  So hopefully if she sees this, she knows that this was done in the utmost respect and appreciation of her recipe, which I will.  You should, too.  But I hope you try and like this one, as well.

None of us were in a pasta mood that night, so we just scooped up the sauce and cheese with some bread.  But this would go fabulously with some pasta (regular or gluten-free), or even some spaghetti squash.  Or even make just the sauce to go with your noodles.  Salting and draining the eggplant (“making the eggplant cry”, like my Grandma always said) really gives it a nice meat-y texture – something good to give to your carnivorous husband (like mine) on Meatless Monday or a Lent Friday.

Eggplant Parm-lasagna on plate

Are you more of a scientist or an artist?  Baker or cook?  Leave some comments below.  I’d love to “chat” some more with you. 

And if you are liking what you are seeing, “Like” me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and tell your friends to stop by.

This recipe was shared with:

Hodgepodge Friday 3/9/12 at It’s a Hodgepodge Life

Blogger Secret Ingredient – Parmesan at My Kitchen Adventures

Eggplant Parm-lasagna with “Faux”-lognese Sauce (serves 4)
Adated from Pink Parsley‘s Lasagna-Stuffed Portabellos

Eggplant

2 medium eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise

1 T olive oil

1/8 t oregano and 1/8 t parsley (which I used), or 1/4 t Italian seasoning

salt and pepper

1 c ricotta cheese

1/2 t dried parsley

1/4 c plus 2-3 T (for topping) grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper, to taste

4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut in thin slices

about 1 cup “Faux”-lognese sauce, see below, or your pasta sauce of choice

Directions

1.  Preheat your oven to 425ºF.Eggplant shells

2.  Scoop out the flesh from the eggplant, leaving approximately a half-inch thick “shell”.  Reserve the eggplant for the sauce, if making.

3.  Sprinkle a little salt inside the eggplant shells, and flip them upside down on a paper towel to draw out some of the water for about 5-10 minutes.Cheese filling

4.  Blot out some of the water from the shell, and place them cut side down in a glass baking dish sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.

5.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until eggplant starts to become soft.

6. While the eggplant is “crying” and baking, make the cheese mixture by combining the ricotta cheese, 1/2 t dried parsley, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a small bowl.Stuffing the eggplants

7.  Remove the eggplant from the oven.

8.  Spoon about 2 T sauce into the bottom of each eggplant.  Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the shells, and top with another 2 T sauce on each.

9.  Lay the mozzarella on top of the stuffed eggplants, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.Eggplants in oven

10.  Baked for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese in bubbly and browned.

“Faux”-logenese Sauce

Eggplant reserved from preparing the “shells”, cut into about 1/4 in. cubes.  If you are just making the sauce, 1 medium eggplant, or about 1 1/2-2 c chopped eggplant will do

1/2 T olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 t dried oregano and 1 t dried parsley (which I used), or 1 1/2 t Italian seasoning

salt and pepper, to taste

1 T fresh basil

Directions

1.  Sprinkle the eggplant cubes with a little salt and let sit for 5-10 minutes (make it cry again).  Squeeze out the excess liquid using a paper towel or kitchen towel.

2.  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, and saute until translucent and soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

3.  Add in the eggplant, oregano and parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste.

4.  Simmer until it is heated through, or longer, if desired.  Just before serving or stuffing the eggplants, stir in the basil.

Enjoy!

Eggplant on plate close

My Kitchen Staples: Spaghetti Squash

Yeah, so I am one of those people with a food allergy.  My body has some sort of immune response to gluten.  Not celiac, but still annoying.  When I used to go out for Italian food, I always thought it was the garlic and onions that gave me indigestion and a stomachache.  I’ve traveled to Italy several times for vacation and work, and while there, I blamed any tummy troubles on the fact that I ate gelato, nutella, panini, prosciutto, cheese, and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on all day, then ended the night with a lot of red wine and a huge meal (usually pasta) eaten at 9pm.  I guess it was the pasta.

While I don’t keep a complete gluten-free diet (I was told I didn’t need to do that), I do try to keep my wheat consumption down.  Except when I am craving pancakes.  Or a Boli from Stuff Yer Face.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, Adam Richman from Man v. Food will help you understand why I have to give in sometimes.

So enter the Spaghetti Squash.

Cut open spaghetti squash

While not an exact replacement for pasta, it does give a similar look and feel, and provides a great vehicle for all of the yummy sauces I like to make.  Those recipes will follow.  Right now, it’s just the basics.

My friend, The Half-Baked Housewife, likes to use the microwave method.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I am sure it works great.  I have always cooked it in the oven.  It takes longer, but you don’t have to pay attention to it for at least the first half hour, and I like the little bit of caramelization it gives.  A lot of times I will get the squash cooked while The Bug is napping, and throw it in the fridge.  Then at dinner time, I just reheat it in the sauce, if that is the type of recipe I am doing, or throw it in a ceramic baking dish, covered, and warm it in the oven or microwave.

1.  Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

Preheat your oven

2.  Wash your spaghetti squash.

Wash your spaghetti squash

3.  Hack it in half with a large knife.

Cut your spaghetti squash

4.  Scrape out the seeds and the fine, stringy gunk (I use a soup spoon).

Scrape seeds out of your spaghetti squash

5.  Place both halves facedown on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.

Put your spaghetti squash on a baking sheet

6.  Put the baking pan into the preheated oven.

Bake your spaghetti squash

7.  Bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your squash, maybe a bit longer if you have a really big one), or until the outside is slight browned, and the flesh is soft enough to be scraped out easily with a fork.  I usually start poke it with a fork around 30 minutes, and then keep an eye on it if it isn’t ready.

Check your spaghetti squash

8.  Scrape out the “noodles” with a fork (or two).

Scrape your spaghetti squash

9.  Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy!

Spaghetti squash noodles

Full disclosure:  The squash I used for the “prep” photos is not the same as the one that provided the “noodles” for the last photo.  The first one I baked up more resembled a broken-strands-of-angel-hair squash.  Not what I was going for, though tasty sauteed up for lunch with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Even if you aren’t gluten-free, I hope you’ll give it a try.  It is very healthy, tasty, and a great way to work some more veggies into you or your picky kids’ diets.  And that is never a bad thing.