by Tammy Taylor
Recently I was gifted a freshly-harvested spaghetti squash from a sweet friend’s garden. YIPPEE! Of course I already knew what I was going to do with it – RancherMan will happily eat his squash if I cook it lasagna style!
I am apparently genetically unable to actually follow a recipe so I’ll include the recipe below that I use as a guide, but truly I use whatever’s being harvested in the garden when I make this dish. It’s a great way to use up those fresh garden vegetables – sometimes I even dice up yellow summer squash & include it in the mix. Squash in the SQUASH?? Why that’s CRAZY talk!
Anyhoo, here’s what I did today – First I cut the spaghetti squash in half longways and scooped out the seeds. I placed the squash cut-side-down in a pie pan and added about 2 tablespoons of water, covered it and placed it in the microwave on high for 10 minutes. When the squash was cooked I allowed it to cool slightly then took a fork and scraped the squash into spaghetti-like strands. I mixed in about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese and mixed it in until the cheese melted.
Meanwhile I started preparing the veggies for the filling. I minced a clove of garlic & chopped some purple onion and bell pepper that I had in the fridge needing to be used. I put it all in my cast-iron skillet with just a touch of olive oil. After sauteing the veggies I added a chopped tomato and some freshly-harvested and chopped oregano. I added salt & pepper and cooked it until the veggies were tender & the liquid was gone.
Then I stirred in some pasta sauce leftover from last week’s homemade ravioli and mixed it all together. I added the contents of the skillet to the shredded spaghetti squash and stirred it all to mix. I placed the mixture into the hollowed-out squash shells and topped it with just enough Italian blend shredded cheese to lightly-cover the top. I placed the filled squash shells into a microwave-safe casserole dish and placed it in the microwave on high for 1 minute, just long enough to melt the cheese. VOILA!
There are of course lots of options for this recipe but then I’m sure you expected that since I never have a one-size-fits-all meal. In the past I’ve added crumbled cooked ground meat (always present in my freezer) for a little meatier fare, but tonight I just cooked the veggie version so I could use items in the fridge needing to be used. RancherMan and I devoured it – absolutely delicious!
In case you’re the “follow the recipe” type, here’s the recipe I based tonight’s meal on. I originally got a base recipe from allrecipes.com but I’ve amended it over the years to make it into a recipe that fits us best.
Spaghetti Squash Cooked In Shell
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 purple onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 fresh tomato chopped
- 1 can pasta sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- salt & black pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds and place squash halves cut side down in a microwavable dish with a few tablespoons of water. Heat on high for 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile in a skillet over medium heat add about 2 tablespoons olive oil & saute onion and garlic until golden brown. Stir in chopped tomato and bell pepper, basil, and salt & pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid from the tomato cooks out. Stir in pasta sauce. Heat until warm.
Remove squash strands from cooked squash with a fork, reserving the shells. Stir in 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and mix until blended. Add the veggie/tomato sauce from the skillet and mix again until thoroughly mixed. Spoon the mixture into the empty hollowed spaghetti squash shell and top with Parmesan cheese. Place filled squash shells in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 1 minute, or until cheese melts. Enjoy!
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