Saturday, May 10, 2014

Spaghetti squash with tomatoes, olives & feta

This is somewhat unexpectedly great vegetarian dish.  It seems so simple and maybe not all that exciting on the surface, but try it good!  Like, really, tasty, satisfying good.

Plus, spaghetti squash is worth making just for the fun of scraping the long, noodle-like strands off the skin when's amazing every time.   Don't think of it as a direct substitute for's definitely it's own thing...but it is a great alternative if you are watching your carbs, eating gluten-free, or simply trying to get more veggies.

serves 8 as a side dish, 6 as a main course

1 medium spaghetti squash - about 3 pounds
1 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic - chopped
2, 15-ounce cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes (with juice)
2 t. fresh chopped oregano (or 1 t. dried oregano)
1 c. roughly chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 t. red chili flakes

2 T. butter
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
3/4 t. salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
1/2 c. crumbled sheep’s milk Feta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Halve spaghetti squash lengthwise using a large, sharp knife & your muscles!  Scrape seeds and stringy bits from the middle of each squash half with a spoon.  Place each half, cut side down, in a roasting pan with a 1/2 inch of water in the bottom (you may need 2 pans).  Place in oven & cook 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven.  Carefully flip squash halves over and allow them to cool a bit while making your tomato-olive sauce.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add chopped garlic & cook one minute.  Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, oregano, Kalamata olives & red chili flakes.  Allow to simmer rapidly for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the tomato liquid has cooked off.  Turn off the heat, add the parley & stir to combine.

Gently scrape the spaghetti squash from the skin into long strands with a fork (scrape crosswise so it pulls off naturally & easily).  You may want to use a hot pad to hold the squash as it will still be quite warm.  Place strands in a large bowl and add the butter, grated Parmesan, salt & pepper.  Gently mix to melt the butter and combine flavors. 

Add the tomato-olive mixture to the squash and toss.  Top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled Feta & enjoy!

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