Meet my new crush: the spaghetti squash. The squash is baked in the oven, after which the stringy spaghetti-like meat is mixed with rich tomato sauce topped with a layer of molten grilled cheese. It is a natural bowl of flavourful and filling gluten free goodness and practically without any carbs. It is comparable with a bowl of traditional spaghetti, as I use a similar sauce, but the taste is just richer and the squash is simply much more nutritious than simple pasta.
I am a sucker for pumpkin in any types or shape – they are just so gorgeous to look at, and I love the sweetness and the thick structure. One of the best part of the autumn is the overflow of all the different types of pumpkin and squash.
It is generally really hard to miss squash season as you can see them literally everywhere. If you feel like experimenting more, check out my previous posts where I used Kabocha in three different recipes: a golden curry, the spicy Arabic cake and a hearty salad.
The tomato sauce I cooked for the filling is a light sauce packed with lots of taste and slightly meaty structure that is added by the aubergine in the sauce. The sage and rosemary made a perfect match with the autumn feeling of the dish, but feel free to substitute the herbs with oregano or thyme, they are perfect in this sauce as well.
Ingredients (for four persons):
- 2 spaghetti squash (each 1.5-2 kg)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Freshly grated black pepper
For the sauce
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 aubergine
- 2 bell peppers
- 500 ml tomato puree (passata)
- 1 hot chili pepper or a tsp of chili flakes
- A small bunch of sage (about 10 leaves or a teaspoon of dried sage)
- 1 stalk of rosemary
- ¼ tsp salt
- Freshly grated black pepper
- 250 g mozzarella
- 100 g yellow cheese
Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Wash the skin of the squash, scrub any possible dirt off and cut them in half with a big knife. Spoon out the seeds and sprinkle the olive oil and black pepper in the holes. Use a brush to spread the oil all over the inside and on the edges where you cut them. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place squashes cut side down on the trays and bake for 40 minutes.
In the meantime prepare the sauce. Peel and mince the garlic, onion and carrots (you can even grate the carrot). Wash aubergine, cut of both ends and dice it. Wash bell peppers, remove seeds and cut it into similar size as the aubergine.
Heat up the oil in a pan, braise garlic and onion then add the rest of the vegs and braise for 5 more minutes before you add the tomato puree. Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for about half an hour, adding some water if it is getting too dry.
Wash and dry the herbs, chop them finely and slice the chili pepper. When the vegs are almost perfectly cooked spoon half of the sauce to a separate bowl together with the herbs and chili pepper. Blend it to a smooth paste with an immersion blender. Grate the cheeses and set aside.
Once the squash is baked for 40 minutes take it out of the oven, carefully flip up (use a tong or spoons because it is really hot) then loosen the inside using a spoon while holding it down with a fork (as it is too hot to just grab it with your hand). First share the spicy sauce between the four halves and slightly fold it in. Then spread the rest of the sauce (the half you did not blend) and top with the grated mix of cheeses. Bake for 10 more minutes until the cheese is bubbly and slightly grilled.