Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spaghetti Squash-sagna

I've been pretty lucky over this challenge that the kids and hubby haven't been particularly picky or critical of most of the meals I've chosen to experiment with (although they have been pretty amused by some of the results) so when Corbin pointed out this week that "we haven't had lasagna in ages, Mom," I knew I'd have to accommodate his personal request and pull one together, even if it is the summer and it goes against all my instincts to be making a casserole. Poor kid was so desperate, he even went sniffing around in the far corners of the basement freezer, searching for a frozen one, since I used to make them three at a time to have handy for last-minute meals. Little did he know that I've dropped that habit because we can't use them this year anyway.
So I turned to tastespotting and browsed through lots of familiar-looking but overly rich lasagna options, knowing that I wanted to find something a bit lighter. When I came across one that substituted roasted spaghetti squash for the pasta noodles, I knew I'd found our next meal. Not a vegetarian option since it includes Italian sausage in the sauce, but more veggie-rich, lighter on the cheese, less carby and definitely healthier overall. Most importantly, it hit the spot for Corbin and brought back memories of the good old days when Mom regularly made kids' faves and wasn't on some crazy midlife culinary adventure.


Spaghetti Squash-sagna
serves 6

1 large spaghetti squash
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
4 cups homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray and set aside.

Cut the ends off the spaghetti squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, brush surface with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and lay cut side down on baking tray. Cook for 35 minutes or until cooked through but not mushy.



Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Once the sausage is cooked through, add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the spinach and saute for a minute or two, until it has wilted. Remove from the heat.


Use a fork to scoop out the spaghetti-like strands from the squash. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a layer of squash, using about half the squash. Top with half of the tomato sauce. Spread the sausage-spinach mixture over the tomato sauce and top with half the mozzarella and parmesan. Continue to add layers, ending with the cheeses on top.


Bake uncovered for 30 minutes and then broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Allow to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


Rest of the week


June 17 Pizza night


June 18 Spaghetti squash-agna and tossed salad




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