Before we entered 2014 I was all set to be more mindful and conscious of what we eat. Not that we eat poorly or badly; but to just be more aware of what and when we eat. So the other night we were craving pasta for dinner. Although I could eat a huge bowl of pasta without a second thought, I still wanted to be mindful about it. Less pasta, more veggies…Not too shabby if I do say so. Actually, absolutely delicious if I do say so! I had a small spaghetti squash I picked up from the market sitting on my counter. This was the perfect opportunity to use it. One spaghetti squash, one large carrot, and some tomatoes can end up like a match made in heaven. All with some pasta of course! Now if you never have tried cooking with a spaghetti squash this is the perfect time to give it a try. Roasting the squash with a bit of olive oil makes it fork tender. Once you pierce the flesh it will shred into tiny “noodle” like strands that retain a lovely al dente texture. Once you toss the roasted squash with the sauce you made out of the tomatoes and carrots you will be pleased with delight. And then you won’t be feeling so guilty about tossing it with a bit of pasta. It was all done mindfully of course.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash in Marinara with Pasta (serves 4)
1 small spaghetti squash
1 large carrot, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 28oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes (pureed)
¼ tsp of crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp of olive oil
½ cup of dry white wine
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/3 pound of pasta (small in shape)
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Carefully, slice your spaghetti squash length wise and scoop out the seeds and slimy pulp; and discard. Rub each cut side half with olive oil and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast the squash about 20 – 30 minutes until the edges are golden and pierces easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Next, place a large sauté pan over medium heat. When your pan is heated through, place the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in it and warm it through. Add the garlic, carrot, and shallot to the pan and stir it. Let it all begin to simmer and stir it well. Once your mixture is simmering and softening add your crushed red pepper and bay leaf and stir again. Let it all cook together about 5 minute. Do keep an eye on your heat. Of your mixture begins to brown be sure to lower the heat under your pan.
Then, place a 4 quart pot filled with heavily salted water over high heat and wait till it comes to a boil. At the same time you can add your pureed tomatoes to the pan with your carrot mixture and bring it to a simmer. Once it is gently simmering you can add the white wine and once again stir it well. Let it all cook together gently bubbling.
Meanwhile, with a fork; shred your spaghetti squash. You will break it all down and have a pile of thread like squash. Discard the stem and the outer skin and place your shredded squash into your tomato mixture and stir it well. Bring it all up to a simmer and continue cooking while your water is boiling. Be sure to taste it at this point and season it all with sea salt and black pepper.
Finally, when your water is boiling gently place your pasta into your water and stir it well. Cook it all together according to the boxes instructions. When your pasta is done cooking (al dente) drain it well and add it to your tomato and squash mixture. Toss it all together until the pasta is well coated. Serve it with some parmesan and a scoop of ricotta and enjoy.