Monday, March 19, 2012

Meatless Monday: Baked Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Olives

Although my kids are pretty good eaters and almost always try a bite of something new, I'm trying to be more adventurous in my cooking and eating, to expose them to new foods.  For example, I realize that just because I'm not a big fan of beans doesn't mean that I shouldn't make them.  Maybe my kids will end up liking them and I won't know if I don't expose them to these new foods.  I think I tried making spaghetti squash once before, years ago and wasn't a big fan.  In my quest to try new foods I decided to make this.  Knowing my kids probably wouldn't eat it, I cooked up some regular spaghetti too.  This turned out to be a wise choice.  The recipe made plenty of sauce, which both my husband and I enjoyed.  It was very different and flavorful with the olives, wine, and capers. I ended up realizing that I'm not a big fan of spaghetti squash.  Hey, I'm a carb lover. I want the real thing!  So, the squash ended up being an appetizer to my big bowl of regular spaghetti with the sauce over it.  Also to note, this is NOT a quick weeknight dinner.  The squash was cooked for 90 minutes and after putting the sauce together, that needs to simmer for 30 minutes.

Baked Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Olives
Cooking Light, October 2000

Yield: 6 servings (1 cup squash, 3/4 cup sauce, 1 tablespoon topping)

1 spaghetti squash (about 3 1/4 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced fresh onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Dash of crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375°.

Pierce squash with a fork. Place squash on a baking sheet; bake at 375° for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands to measure 6 cups. Keep warm.

While squash is baking, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, wine, and the next 6 ingredients (wine through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 30 minutes). Discard bay leaves. Serve sauce over squash.

Combine 1 minced garlic clove, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. Sprinkle over each serving.

Family Rating: So-so.

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