The Spaghetti Squash is a hidden gem when it comes to winter vegetable and a lighter alternative to pasta. The texture is a little al dente when cooked and plays well with a marinara sauce. Preparing the sauce and squash with a breaded chicken breast and nutty Parmigiano add additional layers of flavor and protein.
A variety of tomatoes will bring out individual characteristics - the farmers market had earthy Vine, hearty Beefsteak and sweet Roma.
Once finished, the meat of the Spaghetti Squash can be pulled from the walls with a fork and tossed, leaving an organic bowl for serving.
What you will need:Cutting Board
Large Saute Pan
Large Knife - to split the squash
Tomatoes - 4lbs Cored, Quarter and Deseeded
Garlic - 4-5 cloves minced
Red Onion - 1 bulb minced
Fresh Basil - 2 Tbsp chopped
Fresh Parsley - 1/8 Cup chopped
Bay Leaf - 2 leaves
Red Chili Flakes - 1 Tbsp
Olive Oil - 2 Tbsp
Butter - 2 Tbsp
Parmigiano - 1/2 cup grated
Tomato Paste - 1 small can
Red Wine - 1 Cup
Ground Black Pepper- 2 Tbsp
Sea Salt - 2 Tbsp
Chicken Breast - 1 lb sliced into strips
Eggs - 2
Bread Crumbs - 1/2 cup
Pre-heat oven to 375 - 400
Halve the Spaghetti Squash lengthwise. Gut and remove seeds. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Bake on cookie sheet for 45 min.
While the squash is cooking, make the sauce. Blend the tomatoes in a food processor until all the chunks are liquified. Melt butter in a deep stock pan. Sauté onions, garlic, pepper, chili flakes and salt until soft. Add basil, parsley and tomato puree, bay leaves - in that order. Stir in tomato paste. Bring all of that to a slow bubble to breakdown the ingredients. After a couple of minutes, add red wine - I like a nice dry California Zinfandel or Cabernet because of the deeper complexity and because that's what I drink while it simmers.
Once the squash is done, pull the 2 halves out and let cool enough to be handled. Heat up the remaining olive oil in a skillet. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt, pepper and chili flakes.
Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture, coat in the bread crumbs then into the frying pan.
Use a fork to pull the spaghetti strings from the wall of the squash inside the shell.
With your chicken cooked, the squash tossed and your sauce simmered, it's time to combine them. Spoon the sauce into the shell on top of the bed of spaghetti strings.
Layer the chicken and more sauce to the brim of the shell and top with a generous portion of the grated cheese.
Broil the dish just enough to melt and crisp the cheese. Enjoy!