Jan 23, 2015

Recipe Box- Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese

I am literally eating this dish right now.

And, pretty much anytime I'm not eating it, I wish that I was. It's that good.

This is some serious "feed good" food.

I was first introduced to spaghetti squash in college by a friend who was probably more health savvy than the rest of us; ie. she actually cooked real meals instead of living off of sandwiches, Taco Bell, and Abner's. I remember sitting on the floor of her apartment with a lovely bowl in front of me and thinking, "How weird! It's a veggie that's kinda like pasta and I don't hate it." Unfortunately for me, I quickly returned to my waffle fry and queso eating ways and promptly forgot about this wonder vegetable. Until recently...

Like nearly everyone else I know, I made a commitment to try to eat better after the holidays, and I'm still working on it, even a month later. But this recipe fits the bill: comfort food + pretty healthy. It starts with a hearty homemade bolognese, but replaces those noodles with some spaghetti squash. Try it! I promise you won't miss the pasta in the least!

Get your Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese on!

Bolognese Sauce (makes about 6 servings)

1 medium onion

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 garlic cloves

1 package of pancetta

1 lbs. lean ground beef

1 c. milk

1/2 c. dry white wine

15 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1 tbs. parsley, oregano, basil

2 tbs. olive oil

1 tbs. butter

salt and pepper to taste

Now, the first thing to know is that this recipe does take some time. You'll need to make this on a day where you've got a spare three hours around the house, but the time on the stove really does make all the difference. 

Ok, now that that's out in the open, let's get started. You know what to do...get that mise en place going! This is also an opportunity to practice your knife skills because you'll still be able to see those carrots and celery in the final dish, so be proud of that brunoise!

Once your veggies are ready to go, it's time to fry up the pancetta. If you were able to find cubes of it, great! But, if you were only able to get your hands on the little rounds, just slice those into bite size pieces, and fry them up on medium heat with your olive oil. Once crispy, add in the mirepoix and the tablespoon of butter and cook the veggies down for about 8-10 minutes. 

Next, add in the garlic and the ground beef and cook down until it's no longer pink. Take a minute to smell how good that already smells! You're off to a good start, right? Next, add in the cup of milk. I've tried this with skim and cream, so feel free to use whatever you have in the fridge at the time. Once you've added the milk, you can step away for a few minutes because you're going to want to completely reduce it, which will take 15 minutes or so. Just give a stir every 5 minutes or so, so you can keep an eye on the liquid level and make sure that nothing starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. The milk is going to add some amazing texture and moisture to the final product! 

Once the milk has completed reduced, then you'll want to add in the half cup of wine and reduce that completely as well. Also, pour yourself a glass! I mean, what else are you going to do with the rest of that bottle?! I bet your kitchen is starting to smell really awesome right around now. Okay, so once the wine has reduced, you're almost in the homestretch. The next thing to do is add in your canned tomatoes and half a can of water. Give the pot a stir, reduce the heat a little, cover and let simmer for 1 hour. Try not to take the lid off of the pot! I know it'll be tempting, but the idea is to let the sauce reduce as slowly as possible. As long as it's not at a full boil and just simmering, it'll be fine to do its thing for a little bit. Give the sauce some breathing space, man!

Once an hour has passed, throw in some finely chopped herbs and give it a stir. Pop the lid back on, because it's time to start on the spaghetti squash.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 medium to large spaghetti squash

2 tbs. olive oil

salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half long-ways. Then, scrape out the stringy pulp and the seeds. Using 1 tbs of olive oil per half, coat each half inside and out with the oil and a couple sprinkles of salt and pepper. Lastly, roast in the oven, cut side-down on a parchment paper lined sheet pan for 45 minutes. Then, step away from the kitchen! 

After 45 minutes have elapsed, turn off the burner under your sauce, and take the squash out of the oven. You'll want to flip it over and let it cool down for about 10 minutes, but once it's cool enough to handle, just scrape out the flesh with a fork. It'll form nifty little squash "noodles!" You can scrape them into another bowl or just keep them in  their own little squash bowls. To plate, get yourself a big ole scoop of squash because one cup is just 30 calories! Then, top with some of that beautiful bolognese! If you want to get crazy, you could add a little sprinkle of parmesan and parsley, and then dig in. 

Oh, man, now my bowl's empty. Bummer.....