Taylor Tries to Cook: Spaghetti Squash and Homemade Tomato Sauce
I’ve decided to keep the pasta train rolling this week, but with a bit of a twist. One of my favorite things to do when I want a cheap dinner and don’t actually feel like cooking is to pop a spaghetti squash in the oven, microwave some canned tomato sauce, and then bam, I have a super easy and actually not horrible for me dinner. So that’s what I’m doing this week, except this time I have decided to attempt making my own spaghetti sauce.
Spaghetti squash is a great option if you are craving pasta but don’t want all of the carbs that come with indulging in it. I’ve also found that spaghetti squash is a lot less filling than pasta is, so I can eat a whole lot more of it without getting full or feeling guilty. You might want to add some sort of protein to it though (I usually do chicken), as it is not the most filling of meals on its own.
There are a couple of options when roasting a spaghetti squash. Both begin with preheating the oven to 400 degrees. If you’re like me and don’t own a sharp enough knife to cut the squash, simply stab some slits in it and roast it for a full hour, flipping it halfway through. If you have your life together and own a quality knife, cut it in half, remove the seeds and roast it flat side down for a half hour. Once it’s done, remove the seeds if you roasted it whole, then start scraping at the flesh of the squash with a fork. It should start to come apart in little noodle-like tendrils. It honestly seems like magic the first time you do it.
When it comes to the sauce, canned or jarred is usually fine for me, I just wanted to challenge myself to try something new. I didn’t really follow a specific recipe I found online, but more combined a few that seemed doable with what I had available or could easily pick up on a quick midnight run to Wal-Mart. Because midnight runs to Wal-Mart are the best way to take a study break when you have an exam at 9:30 the next morning, not that I would know anything about that.
I started by softening half of a chopped onion and a small chopped green bell pepper in oil. Once they were soft (but before they started to caramelize) I added a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes. Most of the recipes I saw called for diced tomatoes, but I like the texture of crushed more. I also added a pinch of sugar to counteract some of the acidity in the tomatoes. While letting that simmer together for about 20 minutes, I added garlic powder, oregano, and basil until it tasted like spaghetti sauce. Honestly, just keep adding a little bit at a time and taste testing it until you’re happy with the result.
Once both are done, obviously put the sauce over your spaghetti squash “noodles” and enjoy! I added some parmesan cheese too.