I always thought that spaghetti squash was a sort of “gimmick” vegetable. But once I roasted it, I realized just how delicious it could be. And I hit the “squash lottery” the other day, when my friend, Karen, stopped by with a bunch of beautiful spaghetti squash straight from her and her husband, Bill’s, garden. It was time to cook!
Cooking them is easy. I wash them, cut them in half, and remove the seeds and membrane stuff with a spoon. I flip them onto their backs, skin side down, and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on them. A little sea salt and pepper, and then I flip them back down, skin side up, on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30–40 minutes. When they’re soft to the touch, I remove the sheet pan from the oven, flip them back over again, and let them cool to room temperature. Then I simply scrape out the flesh with a fork, and it comes out in strands, like spaghetti.
While the squash roasts in the oven, I make the meatballs…
1 lb. ground grass-fed beef
1 lb. pastured ground veal (substitute ground beef if you can’t get this)
1 cup breadcrumbs (I use gluten-free)
2 eggs, cracked and scrambled
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and form into meatballs. Place them in a hot pan with 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Cook until the meatballs are browned on all sides.
And you need homemade sauce…
2 cans (28 oz.) of tomatoes, pureed
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
In a large pot, saute the onions in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook at medium heat until the foam disappears.
Add all the herbs and spices and mix well. Continue cooking on medium heat, lowering to a simmer if the sauce seems to be boiling too hard.
Add the meatballs to the sauce when the meatballs have been browned on all sides. Pour the entire contents of the meatball pan, including the olive oil and fat, into the tomato sauce pot.
Make sure all the meatballs are covered with the sauce. Place a lid on the pot, and simmer for at least an hour, until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
Scrape the spaghetti squash with a spoon and place a mound of it in the center of the serving dish. Top it with the meatballs and sauce. Grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top, or do what I did this time, and cut a slab of mozzarella di bufala into small cubes and toss on top. A little sprinkle of oregano and olive oil for good measure on top.