Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Ragu

Spaghetti squash. Let us discuss the mysterious spaghetti squash.

People have been really into this squash, making casseroles and bakes and pie crusts all over the blog-o-sphere. It has become common practice to replace pasta with a base of spaghetti squash. I get it, it's cute. SPAGHETTI squash instead of SPAGHETTI...but I wasn't buying it.

I finally found a beautiful spaghetti squash in my Whole Foods the other day so I scooped it up along with some meat sauce ingredients. I wanted to give spaghetti squash a chance, and I needed to light meal to balance all these pumpkin spiced baked goods I've been eating :-)

It sounds so cliche, but this Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Ragu may be my new favorite pasta dish--and there is no pasta here! Spaghetti squash tendrils are topped with a rich, thick turkey meat sauce packed with fresh parsley and basil and a twist of lemon juice. It is rich and comforting and bright. The squash is buttery from roasting and adds the perfect crunch to the lovely, meaty ragu.

For anyone who has never purchased a spaghetti squash before (like me), here is a fool-proof way to prepare it. If yours has a stem, lop it off. Then cut the spaghetti squash in half and, using a spoon, scrape out all of the seeds and the guts. I originally thought I was cleaning out the "spaghetti" part of the spaghetti squash, but this won't materialize until the squash is cooked. Season the cavity generously with salt and pepper.

Line a heavy baking sheet with aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash cut side down onto the olive oil and bake for about 35 minutes. The squash is done when you push on the skin and it gives a bit.

Top a bowl of this squash and ragu with extra fresh herbs and a bit of parmesan cheese. Leave out the cheese and you have a Paleo friendly meal as well! But trust me - this dish is so delicious, you won't have any idea that it's that good for you!

Here's what you need for Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meat Ragu* (Print Recipe!)

1 3.5 pound spaghetti squash, roasted per the italicized instructions above
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (I like the taste of San Marzano)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
3 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
Grated parmesan for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Use a fork and scrape out the spaghetti tendrils from the spaghetti squash. You're going to be surprised just how much "spaghetti" you get out of this -- enough to serve 2 to 4! Set aside in individual serving bowls.

In a large skillet with high sides, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the turkey, season with a little more salt as well as the black pepper, and crumble and brown until no pink remains. Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir to combine. Bring to a slow boil then reduce heat to low. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes then stir in the fresh herbs and adjust your salt and pepper. Cook another 5 to 10 minutes.

Scoop a generous amount of the meat ragu on top of the bowls filled with spaghetti squash and toss gently. Top with parmesan and additional herbs for garnish. Serve immediately.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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