Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti and parmesan dishes using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 6 oz. bag of fresh organic spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup (approx.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti.
  8. Turn the oven on to Broil.
  9. Microwave the spinach for one minute and press out the excess water. Divide up the spinach and parmesan in half and add to each squash half. Add about 1/2 cup of sauce and mix into the squash. Top with a little more sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Place squash under broiler and cook until cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly.
  11. Depending on the size of the squash and your appetite either cut each half again so they are in quarters or serve as is.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!
  • Make it dairy-free: My daughter does not eat cheese, so I made hers without the parmesan and mozzarella and it was still very delicious.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    February 24, 2018

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Mushrooms, onion, and garlic sautéing
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Cleaning the seeds out of the squash
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The sauce when it was thick and finished cooking. Delicious!
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Separating out the squash “spaghetti strings”
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The finished product. We cut ours in quarters because it was pretty big. Worked out well, we both ate the rest for lunch the next day. 

 

 

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MUSHROOM (AND BEEF) BOLOGNESE

The only one who usually eats pasta in this house is my son, and frankly he can eat enough of it for all of us if I let him! We call him a “pastaterian.”  I came across a Food and Wine recipe entitled Spaghetti with Mushroom Bolognese that I based this recipe on.  I changed several things, most importantly I added ground beef and a little chicken breast sausage to 3/4 of the the recipe to satisfy my son who was craving a meaty Bolognese sauce but still left lots of vegetables in to make it healthier than a traditional almost all beef sauce. I also left 1/4 of it vegetarian to satisfy my daughter. The original recipe also called for eggplant but since I added meat I left out the eggplant.  Overall we all really liked how both the meat and the vegetarian versions tasted.  I noted where you can add the meat or leave it out depending on your preferences.   Note:  The quantities may look large in the pictures because I doubled the recipe so I can serve it again for a kid party in a couple of days. 

Mushroom (and Beef) Bolognese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce that can also have lean ground beef and mild chicken breast sausage added to it for a more traditional but vegetable-laden bolognese sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • extra virgin olive oil or oil of choice
  • one small onion, small dice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and small dice
  • 3/4 lb lean grass-fed ground beef –IF it will not be vegetarian.
  • 1/4  lb mild ground chicken breast sausage —Note: This may be hard to find, at Whole Foods they made this up for me, just ask you butcher, or just use plain ground chicken breast or pre-made chicken sausage or lean ground beef. I think spicy chicken sausage would be really good except for my spice phobe… so I used the mild sausage.–IF it will not be vegetarian.
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, small dice
  • ½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps diced
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon mild white miso (this is surprising but turned out to be worthwhile)
  • one 2-inch chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus grated cheese for serving
  • one 14.5 oz can crushed peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
  • one 14.5 oz can chopped peeled tomatoes (organic or no salt added if possible)
  • 3 thyme sprigs (or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (I probably add more, but I don’t measure)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (or honey, to cut the tomato acidity)
  • 1 package of fresh tagliatelle pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil (I think fresh is important here, dried basil really doesn’t taste the same, but do what you can)

Procedure

  1. In a small bowl, cover the porcini mushrooms with 1 cup of boiling water; soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Finely chop the porcini mushrooms, discarding any tough bits. Drain mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms finely.
  2. In a large pot (I like to use an enameled cast-iron casserole, it cleans up easily) heat 1–2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and carrots and cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes. Add additional oil if needed and then add the ground beef if using, chicken sausage if using, cremini, shiitake and chopped porcini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste and miso and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chunk of cheese, tomatoes and their juices, thyme, oregano, sugar and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and bring to a simmer.
  3. Halfway cover the pot and cook over low heat so it simmers gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, about 1–1.5 hours. Discard the thyme and oregano sprigs (if using fresh herbs); season the sauce with salt and pepper and more oregano and thyme if needed.
  4. In a pot of boiling water (salt optional), cook the pasta until al dente. Drain
  5. Add the pasta and chopped basil to the sauce; toss to coat. Serve in bowls, topped with grated cheese.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

March 16, 2017

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Onions, carrot and garlic
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onions, carrot, garlic and mushrooms

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ground beef and chicken sausage

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Finished product! yum!

Basic Tomato Sauce

 

This is a very basic and simple homemade tomato sauce that can be used on pizza or pasta.  It is another Tabula Rasa recipe, and I am thinking I seem to have a lot of these basic recipes that one can add a few different ingredients to at different times to make them slightly more interesting or seasonal. You can add additional vegetables to make a Ragu, meat to make it a bolognese sauce, the possibilities are endless! The sauce needs to simmer for a long time to allow the ingredients to meld, the tomatoes to break down and for the sauce as a whole to thicken. Once the sauce has been reduced the flavors are really intensified.  The leftovers freeze well so you have good healthy sauce on hand whenever you need it for a quick pasta or pizza dish.

Basic Tomato Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Very basic homemade tomato sauce that can be customized with the addition of meat or vegetables and goes equally well with pasta or pizza.

Ingredients

  • olive oil to cover pan
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or 2+ tablespoons fresh chopped oregano (if using fresh, add at the end of the cooking time)
  • 3 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, agave nectar or sweetener of choice
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • 26oz package of Pom strained tomatoes (I prefer this brand as they are Italian tomatoes with literally nothing added, but use what you prefer and can find easily)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil (and I sometimes add some fresh thyme)

Procedure

  1. In a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and onions (and dried oregano if using – fresh you can add later) and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and soft.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes, sugar, black pepper, and salt. Stir well.
  4. Leave over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer partially covered for at least 60 minutes. I simmer until I get my desired consistency, for me thicker is better, so if I have the time I may let it simmer for a few hours.
  5. Stir in fresh oregano and fresh basil (sometimes I add some fresh thyme as well). Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta or use as pizza sauce. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

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Chopping the onions, garlic and tomatoes