Sunday, June 30, 2013
Simply Awesome Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
I am coming to realize that the key to my happily eating grain-free is to avoid not only grain-ful foodstuffs, like pasta and bread - but to avoid their grain-less substitutes for a good while, too - too get used to eating in a way that doesn't need starchy foods (or their substitutes) as an inevitable and necessary component of every meal.
We began eating this way last September, and only in the last couple months, we've begun playing around with grain-less bread recipes and re-working old favorite meals. As a result, we're able to enjoy these on their own merits rather than instantly comparing them to what they replace.
Here's the truth of things: foods like mashed cauliflower or riced cauliflower do NOT taste like mashed potatoes or rice. They taste like cauliflower, and once you get that, they are awesome on their own terms., but if you're hoping to be fooled into thinking you're eating potatoes or rice, you're going to be disappointed.
And spaghetti squash doesn't taste like pasta - but it twirls like pasta (mostly), and it is a wonderful and delicious carrier for sauces, which is all you really are asking of your pasta anyway, right?
Spaghetti, macaroni, or baked pasta were staples on my weekly menu, often multiple times a week, and they were all on my list of 'comfort foods', as well as being frugal and delicious. It's been several months now since we've eaten anything like them, so I was really getting excited about making up a good spaghetti sauce to eat on top of some spaghetti squash (we've topped just about every other thing you can think of on spaghetti squash - but not spaghetti sauce, go figure). Both Michael and I were laughing at how excited we were to eat what used to be a bored sort of 'it's-Tuesday-so-it-must-be-spaghetti' meal.
Ramping up the specialness of this sauce, we used ground veal from the farmer rather than ground beef - ground pork is also good, but no matter what meat or meats you use, this sauce is otherwise the one I've been making forever. I'm quite happy to have it back in rotation!
Per the tomato products - use fresh-in-season or homemade paste if you got 'em. I used canned, one of the few items we still buy from the center of the store... change is a process and I'm still working on that part.
1 spaghetti squash
1 T. coconut oil
2 T. butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
1 lb ground meat (beef, pork, or veal, or even chicken, if you want)
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 small can organic tomato paste
1 cup broth
1 cup red wine
1 T. oregano
1 T. basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Heat oven to 350F. Pierce uncut several times, and place in a baking dish coated with coconut oil. Bake for an hour or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle, then cut in half around the *short* perimeter (this gives you longer strands than cutting longwise allows). Carefully scoop out seeds and discard. Using a fork scrape the flesh and remove spaghetti squash strands to a serving bowl.
While the squash is baking, make the sauce:
Heat fat in a large saucepan or small stock pot, and brown onions, mushrooms and ground meat until meat is fully cooked and mushrooms and onions are tender. Add remaining ingredients, let come to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until ready to serve. Like all good spaghetti sauces, this benefits from longer simmering times - but as long as it's reduced and thickened somewhat, it's perfectly tasty sooner as well as later.
Serve on top of spaghetti squash strands, and top with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.
And that's not all! We tried Divalicious' Bread Sticks (version 2, except no garlic powder) with these and they were very easy to put together - we popped them into the oven when the squash came out. They are cheesy, hold up well to push around the sauce (and mop up the remains) and were super tasty, too. I want to try them again with different seasonings and cheeses - and I'm also thinking this might just be a great base for a pizza.
All in all - fantastic, comfort food rich meal without grains. Have it with some broccoli on the side, or a good spinach salad to get some greens going in there, and it'd be perfect.