Naturally, when I finally switched over to purely Paleo eating, I missed those yummy pasta dishes. When I was younger and we would visit grandma for weekend, we would always be served some hearty spaghetti. Usually my grandma's spaghetti was full of meat, basil, oregano and cayenne pepper. Oh boy, was there tons of cayenne pepper in there! She loved the spice, but never ate it herself!
I wanted to remake my grandma's "famous meal" but in a more healthy/ paleo way! After trying this recipe a couple times, the best version was this: Twice-baked squash. After you make the sauce mixture and the squash is fully cooked, you layer the sauce back in and pop it back in the oven. This allows the basil and spices to marry themselves with the bottom layer of the spaghetti squash squash so you get a burst of flavor even all the way to the bottom.
If you've never had spaghetti squash before, it's really fun to eat! You want to work your way from inside to outside. So you after it's all cooked, with the sauce in the bed you want to prick your fork into the layer closest to the sauce. The "noodles" will start separating from the skin, it's very easy! Then you keep working your way to the outer layer towards the skin. One half of squash yields ~ 1 1/2 c. of noodles (depending on the squash size, but mine are usually on the smaller end.)
|Nutrition Facts for 1 serving|
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half
2 c. homemade pasta sauce*
1 tbs. dried Basil
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 oz. Extra-lean Ground Turkey (98% Fat Free)
1 tbs. Extra- Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. paprika
Yields ~ 2 servings (each person gets 1 half + 1 c. of sauce/meat mixture)
Direction: Preheat oven to 375 deg. (F). Cut squash in half length-wise. Scoop out all seeds and discard. Or you can wash them and roast them in the oven? (Haven't done this yet, but it seems yummy!). Place squash halves, cut side down on parchment paper and bake for 40 minutes. The skin of the squash should be tender and soft to touch.
In a skillet, place olive oil and onion. Let the onions caramelize before adding in the turkey. Then add cayenne pepper, paprika and black pepper, mix well. I then like to add 1/2 the dried basil into the meat and cook until meat has browned.
Next, add 2 c. of homemade pasta sauce into the skillet. Heat through and add in the rest of the basil. (I usually like to keep some to sprinkle on the top of the pasta, but the choice is yours!)
Finally, I love to "bake" my sauce into the squash again. This allows the flavors to really seep into the rest of the squash half. So I pour ~ 1 c. of the meat + sauce mixture into the bed of the squash and placed it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
*Sometimes, when i'm in a rush to make this dinner and I don't have any homemade sauce in the fridge, I love having this sauce as a go-to. Of course I love and prefer homemade, but this Pasta sauce from Whole Foods comes just as close. The "Fat-Free" Version is Paleo friendly.