spaghetti squash bolognese

I was so excited when I discovered we were getting spaghetti squash in our bushel last week.  This squash can be used to make many delicious recipes and is also a wonderful substitute for things like pasta (to Ryan’s disappointment).  The first time I cooked with spaghetti squash was during my short stint of being paleo.  Though my paleo phase came and went quickly, my love for spaghetti squash (particularly this dish) is here for the long haul.  The icing on the cake?  This is another recipe rounded out by pantry staples and other bushel contents from this week and weeks prior.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of 85% ground beef
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 2 slices of chopped bacon
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese (to cut the acidity)
  • parsley for garnish

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  While the oven is preheating, prick the outside of your spaghetti squash with a fork or sharp knife.  I used to struggle when it came time to halve my spaghetti squash before roasting (Ryan would find seeds everywhere!) but I recently learned that you can roast a spaghetti squash whole.  It takes a longer amount of time but is definitely easier on your hands when it comes time to split open.
  • Place the spaghetti squash on to a sheet pan and put in the oven for about an hour and flip over halfway through baking.
  • While the spaghetti squash is baking, heat a dutch oven with butter and melt.  Once butter is melted add the ground beef and bacon and season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes on medium high heat. When the ground beef and bacon are cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • In the same dutch oven used to cook the meat that now has that delicious beefy bacon butter juice, add the celery, carrots, garlic, oregano, onion and cook over medium heat until they become soft.
  • Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, bay leaf, ground beef and bacon.  Season with a bit more salt and pepper (and maybe so red pepper flakes as well!).  Bring to boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes (or longer).  Be sure to stir the bottom every once in awhile to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning.   5 minutes before serving, stir in the ricotta cheese to the sauce.
  • When the spaghetti squash becomes tender, pull out of the oven and let cool until it can be handled.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Once all the seeds are removed, use a fork to pull the stringy flesh from the squash away from the skin.  Place squash on a plate or in a bowl like you would with pasta.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper, top with a generous amount of bolognese and garnish with parsley and perhaps some grated parmesan.

Depending on how large your squash is, this recipe can make anywhere between 4-8 servings.  If your squash is on the smaller side, you’ll have enough squash for around 4 servings with plenty of extra bolognese to serve with pasta later in the week for a quick and delicious weeknight meal!

Another side note, ground turkey or chicken can easily be substituted and bacon omitted for those who are trying to be a bit healthier but I have to say, even with the ground beef and bacon it’s not too heavy on calories and is a really hearty dish that fills you up.

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