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Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Marinara and Saffron + Roasted Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Recipe adapted from here

So, I'm not really an avid television watcher, however, this morning I was waiting around to walk to my hair appointment. I woke up really early, which isn't unusual, but I wasn't in the mood to bake anything. Instead I decided to plop down in front of the tv. Now if I do watch tv, I usually choose a mystery show, like CSI, Law and Order, Criminal Minds and the like, or something really un-intelligent like Gossip Girl, 90210, etc...

This morning however, I watched the news, and then followed that with some talk shows. I never ever watch talk shows, I don't even think I've ever seen a single episode of Oprah, I know right? Well, I chose Rachael Ray... heck, she has some good food, but her voice, oh her voice makes me cringe... she'll never read this so I don't feel THAT bad... I'm a horrible person I know.

Anyways, this morning she was making food for American Thanksgiving. One of these recipes included this amazing recipe for spaghetti squash with a spicy marinara saffron. Now, just two days ago I bought myself some spaghetti squash. I had only had it once before, and that was last October when I was starting to become more interested in healthy eating. Well, I had found the recipe from the local health food store and it was disgusting. First of all it was with a pesto sauce, why would I even eat it if EVERY TIME I've had pesto I've wanted to puke? I don't know. That's one food I just CANNOT stomach. I love everything that it is made of but together grooosss... just like MAYO (PUKE) and just like HONEY GARLIC (when I used to eat wings), loooove honey, love garlic but no!

Nonetheless, I think waking up this morning and turning on the tv was destiny. Everything Rachael was making for this recipe I had ON hand... I mean, again that isn't that unusual since both my mom and I have grocery-shopping problems, but it was fate.

This dish... what can I say about this dish? You know when you watch tv and they make something and the host is all, "you should taste this! You have never tasted anything so good. The smell, the smell is amazing!"... yeah, this is that meal. I'm so incredibly happy I got this sudden urge for spaghetti squash, I mean I knew I would like it, it just wasn't prepared with the flavours I liked last time, and to be honest, I think my mom had overcooked it as well, yuck. This dish though, everything about it was AMAZING. I wasn't going to put the butter and Parmesan since I don't really eat dairy anymore, however, I put probably less than 1/4 of butter and Parmesan that Rachael suggests for the recipe. Just that tiny tiny amount though, made the dish impeccable. It was just the perfect amount of creamy. The "spaghetti" was cooked PERFECTLY. I cooked it for 40 minutes, and it picked up a beautiful roasted flavour, and the "noodles" were al dente, just perfect. I didn't sprinkle any salt or pepper in the squash as I had a ton of flavour from the marinara.

Before today I had only had marinara sauce at Pizza Pizza, so I wasn't really sure what to expect, considering again Pizza Pizza is the only place I have ever laid eyes upon this sauce. I changed it up a bit, spruced it up with a bit of white wine, and boy ohhhh boy was this perfect. This sauce wasn't really spicy, even though I added a jalapeno plus red chili flakes, but I'm glad it wasn't spicy. I love spice, but I think it would of actually taken away from the meal if it was too spicy. The combination of the sauce plus the spaghetti squash, seriously match made in heaven. If you're wanting to convince your family, friends, or even yourself to try spaghetti squash this is the perfect recipe to do so. Not only that, I know your Thanksgiving is coming up and you want to have some healthy alternatives well this is it! Forget about real spaghetti when you can have a healthy vegetable alternative that tastes better than spaghetti but still looks pretty much identical. You will love this, and will not regret a second of it, plus it is incredibly simple to make!

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass at table
  • 1 cup water
  • A generous pinch of saffron, about 24 threads
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 green jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 32-ounce can diced tomatoes(has Italian seasonings in it)
  • 1/2 cup white wine

Heat oven to 425°F.

Split squash lengthwise and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes-1 hour, until the squash flesh is very tender, (I kept mine in there for 40 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat water in a small pot with the saffron threads to bloom the saffron and infuse the liquid with flavor.

While squash roasts, heat EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, in a pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, garlic and jalapeno, red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes then add saffron stock and tomatoes to the pan. Crush tomatoes with a potato masher or spoon, simmer for 20-30 minutes over medium-low heat.

When the squash is done, lightly brush your butter over the insides. Shred the squash into spaghetti-like strands with a fork, leaving the flesh in the squash shells. Dress evenly with melted butter, cheese, salt and pepper.

Top each half-squash with sauce and more cheese, and serve.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Since I like to use up my ingredients as much as possible without throwing any "good ingredients" away, I figured I would use the seeds of the spaghetti squash to make myself a tasty and healthy snack. Since it has been a few years since we have had a pumpkin at our house, I haven't had homemade roasted pumpkin seeds in a long, long time, and I love those bad boys. I thought what better opportunity than this! What I did was the exact same thing I would of done if I were using pumpkin seeds, they tasted exactly the same, except for the fact that I used a sweet mesquite rub for the spice. This gave it a salty yet subtle hint of sweetness, they were absolutely delicious. I was going to save some for my snack the next day but they were so good that I just couldn't save them! Oh well, I guess that means I may just have to buy another spaghetti squash, darn... ;)

  • Your favorite squash seeds - pumpkin, butternut, acorn, etc...
  • EVOO
  • Your favorite seasonings - salt/pepper, Italian, etc...

Scoop out seeds from squash, and separate them from all of the pulp.

Lay seeds out on a pan and let dry thoroughly, either by baking in an oven at 200F and turning over every 30 min., or letting dry out overnight.

Once dry, place oven rack on highest possible position and then preheat oven to 400F. Lightly toss in some olive oil to your seeds, and lay out on a pan. Sprinkle your favorite seasonings on top, and toast, checking every 5 minutes until seeds turn golden brown (about 10-15 min. or so).

Let cool, and then enjoy!
Go on, you know you're dying to try these recipes.

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