Squash Noodles with Red Sauce
This dinner is a family favorite, and it happens to be a breeze to make! The key? Spaghetti Squash serves as the low-starch substitute for noodles. Homemade marinara sauce may be used, but this meal is designed to be a last-minute dinner, therefore a jar of quality marinara sauce works just fine!
1 large spaghetti squash
1 1/4 lb grassfed ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic (approx 3 cloves)
1 medium zucchini, diced
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 jars marinara sauce *
sea salt & pepper
parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
About an hour before dinner, preheat the oven to 400˚. Locate either a roasting pan with rack or a cookie sheet with a cookie rack set inside of it. Cut the spaghetti squash from vine stump to end. Scoop out the seeds. Place the spaghetti squash on the rack cut side down and fill the pan with water until almost reaching the rack, but not touching the spaghetti squash. Prick the skin of the squash with a fork 10 times each. Place the squash in the hot oven until a fork pierces the squash fairly easily or an indention is left when squeezed, approx 45 minutes to 1 hour.
While the squash is cooking – In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter until foaming. Add the meat and onions, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook until pink is gone from meat and onions are soft, approx 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Simmer while the squash finishes cooking. Five minutes before the squash is ready, add the zucchini to the sauce. The zucchini will soften, but maintain a bright green color and al dente texture.
When squash is ready, remove it from the oven. Flip the squash over and add 1 tbsp butter and generous salt & pepper to each squash cavity. When the squash cools enough to touch, use a fork to scrape the strings of spaghetti out of each side of the squash and into a large bowl. Toss squash gently with fork to even out the seasoning. Pour the meat sauce over the spaghetti. Top with parmesan or chopped parsley.
* Ground chicken or turkey may substitute for ground beef. Follow the same procedure, except use 2 tbsp of butter instead of 1 tbsp to cook the meat. I find chicken and turkey need the supplemental fat for moisture and flavor.
* Don’t scrimp here! The taste of the jarred marinara sauce can make or bread this meal. Last night, I used Seeds of Change “Puttanesca Napoletana” brand to much success. I also adore a brand called Dave’s Gourmet “Red Heirloom”. Keep trying till you find a one that tastes great without any additional adjustments in seasoning. This is designed to be a fast meal!