Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Marinara


Recently, I have fallen in love with a grocery that is fairly nearby.  A friend told me about it, advising me they had fantastic deals on not only produce, but meats as well.  To top it off, most choices are locally grown, organic, and more affordable than any grocery I've seen.  It's like an upscale farmer's market.

When I went there for the first time, I was so excited at all the choices, and when I spotted a spaghetti squash I was ready for some cookin'.  I've been working to toss more vegetables into my diet, and with pasta being one of my big weaknesses, spaghetti squash is a perfect one to try.


Now, when I got the spaghetti squash home, I was unsure how it worked.  I knew it couldn't possibly be so easy as to only require cutting it open and finding a plate full of noodles, but it's a small step away from it.  I found a how to guide for roasting spaghetti squash that told me what I needed to know, and decided to make a roasted red pepper marinara sauce to go alongside it.

I cleaned the outside of the squash and set it up on my cutting board.


Next, I cut it in half lengthwise.


I scooped out the seeds and innards from the center, leaving only the firm parts of the squash behind.  Then, I rubbed some olive oil over it to coat the inside and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.  I laid the squash on a foil-lined baking tray.  I baked them face up, really only because I was so excited to get these in the oven that I missed a step.


Even face up, the squash baked just fine.  I let them cook for 50 minutes, until it was fork tender.  Then, I ran a fork through the sides of the squash and it just easily pulled apart to create the spaghetti.


I scooped out all the squash and placed it in a bowl.  This is just a portion of what I got from the squash; there was plenty!


While the squash was finishing up, I began preparing the marinara by slicing the roasted red pepper and minced garlic to a skillet along with some olive oil.  I cooked it for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, until the garlic started to brown slightly.


Next, I added the  tomato paste, water, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms, crushed red pepper, oregano, parsley, and basil.  I heated it until it began to bubble, then lowered the heat and simmered the sauce for about 10 minutes.


I served the squash with the sauce on the top.


Wow, spaghetti squash is as awesome as I have heard!  First off, I still can't get over how easy this was to throw together.  The squash had a slightly crunchier texture than standard pasta, but I enjoyed it.  I wonder how flipping the squash over would affect the texture, so I will give the other method a try next time.  The sauce was quite spicy, and with the squash made a great tasting meal.  While it did taste slightly different than regular pasta, when you are using strong flavors like those in a marinara sauce, any vegetable flavor is overwhelmed (and this squash was very mild on the flavor).  Not only was this delicious, but the whole meal was under 100 calories.  Unbelievable!  I am sold on spaghetti squash.  If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot.  You'll be surprised!

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Marinara Recipe

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:
1 spaghetti squash
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

For the marinara:
1 roasted red pepper
1 can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can mushrooms (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon basil

Instructions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and innards from the center, leaving only the firm parts of the squash.  Arrange on a baking tray.  Rub or spray the insides with some olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the squash is fork tender.  Use a fork to run through the squash, creating the spaghetti.  Add to a large bowl.  For the marinara, slice a roasted red pepper into pieces and add with some minced garlic to a nonstick skillet with some olive oil.  Heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the tomato paste, water, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms, crushed red pepper, oregano, parsley, and basil and stir to combine.  Heat until the sauce bubbles, then lower and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Serve squash with sauce over the top.

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