Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spaghetti Squash "Lasagna"

Sorry to anyone on Saba reading this- I think I took the only spaghetti squash on the island and it was only there by mistake in the first place.

I love spaghetti squash.  It really doesn't have much flavor at all, but is a great base for a flavorful sauce, much like its namesake.  In contrast to actual spaghetti though, it is super low in calories, with only about 40 per cup, cooked.  And, honestly, I think it is better than real pasta (then again, I don't like pasta, like a weirdo).  

What you need:

1 small spaghetti squash (1-2 pounds) or 4-5 cups cooked squash
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, blended until nearly smooth (or ricotta, but the cottage cheese is lower in calories)
5-6 cups chunky homemade pasta sauce, with or without meat (see recipe I used below for a chunky and meaty version)
1/4 cup EACH mozzarella and Parmesan

*If you haven't already cooked your squash, all you need to do is poke a few holes in it with a fork and then cook it a) in the oven at 375 Fahrenheit for about an hour, or b) in the microwave for 15 minutes or so.  The squash should be soft when done.  Cut in half and scoop out the seeds.  Shred the flesh with a fork and place in a bowl.  You can also cut your squash in half before baking and scoop out the seeds as well.  Just bake/ microwave face-down and reduce the time accordingly.

To prepare  the "Lasagna":

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spoon about a cup of sauce into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan.  top with about two cups cooked spaghetti squash.  Spread all of the cottage cheese over this.  Top with more sauce (about two cups), then the rest of the squash.  Top with another couple cups of sauce.  Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake from another 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.   Serve and enjoy!

Chunky Vegetable and Meat Sauce:

Is you are vegetarian, the meat can easily be omitted, of course.

What you need:

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained (optional)
2 teaspoons olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 leek, chopped (or just use a bit more onion- I just needed to get rid of this!)
1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
1 head of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 eggplant, sliced and cut into quarters (about 2 cups chopped)
1/2 zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters
1/2 cup of mushrooms, chopped OR 1/4 reconstituted dried mushrooms, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 28 ounce can crushed tomato
1 14 ounce can diced tomato
1-2 cups water, chicken broth, or liquid from reconstituting the dried mushrooms
2 bay leaves
Spices: Oregano, basil, black pepper, sage, thyme, etc.
Splash of red wine vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, celery, and the salt.  Saute until starting to brown and slightly softened.  Add the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Continue to saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have begun to brown.  Add the wine and de-glaze the pan.  Add the canned tomatoes, the liquid of your choice, and the bay leaves.  Add the cooked ground beef, if using.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for about 2 hours (give it a stir every once and a while), or until vegetables are all cooked through and the sauce has thickened.  Add the spices to taste, as well as a splash of red wine vinegar.  Remove bay leaves.  Done!

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