Friday, September 27, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Joey and I watch Food Network A LOT. We religiously watch Iron Chef every week (and Next Iron Chef, when it's on), and have seen almost every episode of Chopped. Guy Fieri kind of annoys us, but we still watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives sometimes. Joey was watching it one day when he saw them making something that sounded really great. He found the video on youtube, and then we proceeded to watch it, pausing every few seconds so we could write down what they were doing.

They were making spaghetti squash marinara. You cook the spaghetti squash, and then fork it out to get nice long spaghetti-like strands, and mix that with marinara sauce and a bunch of cooked veggies. You dump all of that back into your spaghetti squash shells, top with fresh mozzarella cheese, and put it in the oven until the cheese is nice and melty. We've made this a bunch of times now, but usually always use store-bought marinara. This time we decided to make our own, and it was really tasty!

This was a perfect date night dinner, accompanied by a glass of white wine :)

*Also, this recipe is completely gluten-free! Granted, spaghetti squash doesn't exactly = spaghetti. I still think this counts as a really filling meal, and you forget that it's basically entirely veggies (plus cheese).

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Marinara
Adapted from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Yield: 2 LARGE or 4 small servings

1 large spaghetti squash
olive oil
1 cup carrots, julienned
1 cup cauliflower, in bite-size pieces
1 cup broccoli, in bite-size pieces
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar marinara sauce (or make your own! recipe below)
2 balls fresh mozzarella, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
(Carefully) cut open the spaghetti squash, and scoop out the slimy stringy flesh and seeds.
Rub the open sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on the baking sheet, and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Turn oven temp up to 450 F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Put the carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and onion on the sheet, toss with 1 tbsp oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
Once the spaghetti squash is cool, take a fork to scrape out the flesh. Run the tines of the fork down the squash, from stem end to bottom, creating long strands. Be careful not to puncture the skin. Put the squash in a large bowl, and mix in the marinara sauce and cooked veggies. Carefully fill the squash halves with the veggie mixture.
Lower oven temperature to 350 F.
Top with the fresh mozzarella, put back on the foil-lined sheet, and put in the oven. Cook for ~20 minutes, or until the veggies are bubbling and the cheese has melted.
Let cool a few minutes before serving.

Recipe: Homemade (Easy) Marinara Sauce
Adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa

1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 medium yellow onions, chopped
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine (we used red cooking wine - don't judge!)
28oz canned crushed or diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (we used 1 tsp since the cooking wine was salted)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a large (at least 12 inches) skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until translucent - 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the red wine, and scrape up all of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high, and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Ready to be baked - coated with oil, salt and pepper

Just out of the oven! Look at that melted cheese

My half, with a glass of white wine. Don't judge the crazy messy coffee table with all of my stuff everywhere (don't you like my nail polish colors?)