Spaghetti Squash Boats with Sausage Ragu

Attention everyone: I made a new recipe!

Not only did I make a new recipe, but it even turned out amazing enough that I am sharing it with you today.

Not only did I make a recipe amazing enough to share with you today, but it is also healthy, veggie-heavy, AND carnivore-pleasing.

In the words of Queen Ina, “How bad can that be?”

For the past several autumn/winter seasons, I have been pretty much obsessed with spaghetti squash. I even taught y’all how to make it almost 2 years ago.

One medium-sized squash will run about $3 a pop at Safeway, can feed me for 2-3 meals, and they are much easier to prepare than acorn or butternut squash. There’s no peeling of a strange looking gourd involved, AKA fewer flesh wounds for Katie 😉

And yes, it’s also healthy. According to the Lazy Girl’s Encyclopedia (Wikipedia), spaghetti squash contains folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene. Plus it’s only 42 calories per cup, and I’d guess a 2-3 pound yields 5-6 cups. That is, like, no calories!

But I’m not here to tell you it can replace spaghetti. Sometimes there’s just nothin’ like a big ol’ plate full of gluten.

gluten free

That being said, I do love my veggies. Spaghetti squash has a very neutral taste, so with the right (read: delicious, meat-filled) sauce, a complete and satisfying meal can come out of one of these bad boys.

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Enter: RAGU.

When naming this recipe, I made sure to do my (Lazy Girl) research (on Wikipedia) about the difference between “ragu” and “ragout”. This is no food/recipe blog, but I do want to be accurate! So here’s your unsolicited food lesson for the day:

In Italian cuisine, a ragù is a meat-based sauce, which is commonly served with pasta.

The term ragout is French, and refers to a main-dish stew. Ragouts may be prepared with or without meat, a wide variety of vegetables may be incorporated, and they may be more or less heavily spiced and seasoned.

Because I knew it would be served with an actual “boat” of veggies, I made my tomato sauce pretty meat-heavy, and thus dubbed it a ragu. An insanely simple one, at that, with pretty much only 5 ingredients!

And then I fed it to Russell (who was apparently a notoriously picky eater as a child and as a result barely likes any veggies) who astonishingly gave it 2 thumbs up. Go figure.

Now that I have his trust on spaghetti squash, it’s only a matter of time before I find another way to trick him into eating veggies with me. Cauliflower as a potato substitute, anyone?

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Just kidding, Russ.

…maybe 😉

Spaghetti Squash Boats with Sausage Ragu
serves 2

1 3-lb spaghetti squash
1 shallot, or 1/2 onion
2-4 cloves of garlic (I love garlic so I may have added 4 😉 )
~3 Italian sausages (play this by ear, but traditionally ragus have equal amounts of meat and tomato)
1 16-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp of your choice of italian herbs and seasoning (basil, thyme, oregano, and/or rosemary)
olive oil, for cooking
parmesan cheese, to taste

To make the spaghetti squash boats, see my detailed step-by-step process (with photos!) HERE. Follow those instructions, except instead of removing the squash from its shell, leave it! Be sure to set aside 1-2 cups of excess squash in a separate dish to leave room for the ragu.

To make ragu:

  1. Dice shallot/onion and desired number of garlic cloves
  2. Heat desired amount (about 1-2 tsp should do the trick) of olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium to large saute pan.
  3. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent, 5-10 minutes. Take care not to let them burn!
  4. Remove sausages from their casing and add them to the pan, breaking them up with a spatula…or just add ground sausage to the pan.
  5. Once sausage is browned, after about 5-7 minutes, add can of diced tomatoes (I don’t like big chunks so I broke those up too with the spatula) and seasoning! Lower to medium/medium-low heat and let simmer, covered, for at least 10 minutes while all the flavors meld together.
  6. Spoon ragu on top of each spaghetti boat, and enjoy!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy spaghetti squash?

Any favorite veggie-sneaking techniques? In the summer I shred zucchini into everything, and I’ve tried cauliflower substitutes (with little success)

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