Meatless Monday: Italian Style!
I grew up in a big, Italian family, which means that holidays (and regular days) were always filled with meatballs, sausage, chicken parmigiana, prosciutto, and other meat-based entrees. But you don’t need all of that meat to get a satisfying, flavorful, Italian-inspired meal.
Today’s meatless Monday is an easy, healthier twist on an Italian classic- spaghetti pomodoro. (Pomodoro just means “tomato” in Italian and usually describes a simple tomato sauce on pasta). But for this recipe, spaghetti is replaced by its vegetable cousin- spaghetti squash!
I’ll confess that when writing this recipe, I was lazy and used a frozen eggplant parmigiana from the grocery store as a side dish, but if you want to make it yourself it’s really not all that hard, and my recipe will probably be featured in an upcoming meatless Monday post.
Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro
-1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
-1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes with basil
-3 cloves garlic
-3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise
- Drizzle some olive oil followed by salt and pepper, on the exposed flesh of the spaghetti squash. But save some oil for the sauce!
- Put it in the oven for about 45min to an hour (this will vary a bit, depending on your oven and the size of your squash).
5. While that’s cooking, mince the garlic and heat some olive oil in a pan.
6. Add half of the garlic to the olive oil and brown it slightly. Once you’ve got a nice mellow toasted garlic smell, add your can of tomatoes and the rest of the garlic. You can play with the ratio of toasted to fresh garlic to fit your own tastes.
7. Allow the sauce to simmer. You’ve just made a rough red sauce! Potential add-ins include fresh basil, cracked red pepper, onions (which could be sautéed before the garlic), veggie meat crumbles- the sky is the limit! To make it into a pink sauce, add a little bit of greek yogurt or sour cream.
8. When the spaghetti squash is done, scoop out the seeds from the middle and discard. Then, using a butter knife or spoon, separate the skin from the “spaghetti” strands and then dump the squash into your saucepan. Mix until squash is coated with sauce, and serve with a helping of eggplant parmigiana. Don’t forget to garnish with some fresh-grated pecorino romano cheese!
Note: Although spaghetti squash is delicious and looks a lot like spaghetti, its taste and texture is a bit different. I personally love it, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to trick anyone into thinking they’re eating actual pasta- just embrace it for what it is!