I had a fun time recently at my local pumpkin patch. I watched a pig race, saw an amazing corn maze and found some beautiful squash. Many people were picking pumpkins to carve, but I was looking for squash to eat. As a chef, food is always on my mind!
This has to be the best vegan-gluten-free dish I have ever made. I am excited to share it with you because it is so simple. The best part is that you don't miss the pasta. When baked, the squash becomes your pasta. "Pomodoro" is the Italian word for tomato and refers to a quick and light tomato-basil sauce. Made with sweet cherry tomatoes, the flavor is spot-on and delicious.
Not only is this a great side dish at your Thanksgiving table, but it also packs up great for lunch. This veggie pasta satisfies a hunger for bread, which is why I really love it. This fiber-rich dish helps keep you satisfied, and is a great addition to your fall menu.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2½ pounds)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 10 ounces (1 container) cherry tomatoes, half of them cut in half
- 1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup basil or 10-12 large leaves
1. Preheat oven to 400º F. Wash the squash and carefully cut it in half lengthwise. Place squash cut side down on parchment or silicon-lined baking sheet, for easy clean up. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until fork-tender.
If your knife is too dull to cut the squash easily, or it seems too dangerous to cut, roast the squash whole and cut later, after it’s cooled down. Be careful of the release of steam when cutting squash when it’s hot.
2. When squash is ready, let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Then, using a fork, shred the strands carefully and reserve.
3. In a large nonstick pan, add the olive oil, garlic, and red chili flakes if using. Turn heat up and heat until garlic just starts getting a little brown, about 1 minute.
4. Then add halved and whole tomatoes, standing back because they will splatter. Cook for 2 minutes on high, stirring so some juice starts to bubble.
5. Immediately add half of the spinach and let it cook down, then add the remaining spinach. When all spinach is almost wilted, add the squash to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently. Top with torn basil leaves and eat immediately.