Total Time: 1.5 hours; 30 minutes active
It’s January! That means it’s peak season for spaghetti squash! Most people ask, “what do I do with this strange looking gourd?”. Simple, you top it like any pasta dish. These Bolognese Spaghetti Squash Boats are a simple and healthy low-carb alternative from carb-heavy wheat noodles. When roasted, spaghetti squash is naturally sweet making it perfect for an acidic tomato base sauce. Spaghetti squash also contains lots of nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by switching out the ground beef for chopped cremini mushrooms. Not only is it healthier than traditional spaghetti, but its a fun and way to get kids to eat their vegetables.
2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1/4 of an eggplant cut into small 1/4 inch cubes
1 pound ground organic beef (to make this vegetarian 1 lb of chopped cremini mushrooms may be substituted)
One 28-ounce can Cento San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning
a tablespoon flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Spaghetti squash boats
1 medium-large spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano Parmesan cheese
4-6 fresh basil leaves chopped for garnish
Make the Bolognese
Place a medium size sauce pan or dutch oven on the burner and turn the heat on to medium.
Once the pan gets hot, add two the tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions for 6-8 minutes until the onions becomes translucent (If the onions are browning to quickly, lower the heat to medium-low). Add the garlic, carrots, eggplant and celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
After the vegetables have softens, crank the heat up to medium-high and add ground beef.
Saute the beef and vegetable mixture, stirring frequently and using the back of a wooden spoon to breaking up any large lumps. Saute until meat is no longer pink for about 8-10 minutes.
Add a 28 oz can Cento San Marzano crushed tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, parsley, basil, chili flakes, and bay leaf and cook partially covered over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens. This will take about one hour.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast Spaghetti Squash
While Bolognese sauce is thickening, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
With a sharp knife, carefully cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
Scoop out all the seeds, and brush the interior of the squash with the olive oil and season with salt.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet (hot air and steam will get trapped in the dome and cook the squash).
Roast the spaghetti squash for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size. Use a pairing knife to pierce the squash through the skin into the flesh, if the knife goes in easily, it’s ready (The spaghetti squash should retain its shape).
Remove the squash from the oven and turn the heat down to 350 degrees F.
Once spaghetti squash is cool enough to handle, flip the squash skin-side down onto a rimmed baking dish.
Sprinkle the grated mozzarella and Pecorino Romano Parmesan cheese inside the cavity of the spaghetti squash.
Spoon in the Bolognese sauce, and return the spaghetti squash boats to the oven and let everything heat up for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and garnish with the chopped basil. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving.
To learn more about winter squash, click here!