Here’s something that we’ve been doing over at Chez Streit lately. I’ve made a few little variations on this recipe, and it always comes out nicely. This is one of the many ways to use spaghetti squash, wherein you roast the squash and then pretend it’s traditional pasta. Not too complicated. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing flavor when I swap out the traditional pasta in this recipe … and it eliminates the carbs and gluten of traditional pasta.
As with many of my preferred cooking approaches, I like this recipe because it’s easy and tough to mess up. One of the things that makes it easy is that you don’t need the ground beef to be thawed … so, if you haven’t thought far enough ahead to defrost anything for dinner, that’s not a problem.
I should also mention that, aside from the spaghetti squash, all the vegetables are optional. In this recipe, we’re relying on a jar of store-bought pasta sauce to tie everything together, so it’s up to you how much you’d like to “jazz things up” with additional fresh veggies. And of course, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own fresh pasta sauce…
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 daikon
- 1 celeriac
- 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 Tblsp olive oil (or canola oil or peanut oil)
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- grated parmesan cheese
1) Preheat your oven to something between 350 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (I’ve been using 375.)
2) Now we’re going to set up the spaghetti squash to cook in the oven. While it’s baking, we’ll have time to handle everything else. So. Cut your spaghetti squash in half. In the photo, I’ve sliced mine in half longitudinally (from stem to “butt”). I have since learned, however, that you get longer strands of squash if you cut it laterally, at its “equator.”
3) Scoop out the seeds and innards.
4) Place the squash cut-side-down in an oven-safe baking dish or skillet. Add about a half inch of water to this dish. This helps the squash stay moist and cook faster. (Minority report: What’s described and pictured here is the way I like to do this. I’ve read, though, that some people prefer to roast the squash cut-side-up without any water because they prefer the final texture that way. Fair enough. If you think you’d like a drier texture, try turning the oven up to 450 or 460 and skipping the water. The high heat should also maximize the expression of the squash’s sugars.)
5) Put the squash in the oven. It will bake for somewhere between 35 minutes and an hour. It’s done when you can easily poke a fork into the flesh. Don’t worry too much about over-cooking it; that’s kinda hard to do. It’s just a question of cooking it until you’ve achieved a nice texture for eating.
6) Alright. While the squash is cooking, we’re going to set up everything else. Put a small amount of oil (a tablespoon maybe) in a deep skillet or shallow soup pot on medium heat and throw in the ground beef. As the bottom side of the ground beef cooks, stir it so that uncooked sections are exposed to the pan.
7) Marshall your vegetables.
8) Chop your vegetables. Mince your garlic (not pictured).
9) Add the chopped vegetables to the skillet with the meat. Save the garlic to be added later on. Continue to stir everything now and then, moving the uncooked parts of the meat to the bottom.
10) Keep cooking and stirring until the meat is all browned — or very nearly so.
11) Now, add your pasta sauce. Also add your garlic at this time.
12) Stir everything and simmer until all the contents of the skillet are heated through.
13) Now use a fork to scrape some of the stringy spaghetti squash flesh out the of the shell and onto a plate.
14) Top your serving of squash “pasta” with the bolognese sauce.
15) Now grate some parmesan cheese on top of it all, and you’re ready to eat! (Pictured here with some sautéed broccoli raab on the side.)