The second installement of “I can’t believe it’s not pasta” week is Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca. Alasdair is always asking me to make a puttanesca, and I always refuse because (a) I hate olives and (b) even though I love pasta, I’m usually watching my girlish figure and declining a big plate of heavy carbs. Most likely because I’d just shown my weakness and eaten an entire bag of chips. *Sigh.* Well, I came up with the perfect solution. Swap the olives out for anchovies (the Latium version of puttanesca uses anchovies and olives while the Neopolitan version is prepared without anchovies) and use spaghetti squash instead of the pasta.
Did you know if you take a fork and start pulling back the insides of a roasted squash you end up with mounds and mounds of spaghetti look-a-like? It’s amazing what’s inside that big yellow hard shell.
The result? A light, fresh and flavorful Italian dish that’s, you guessed it, gluten-free!
Healthy Recipe Ecstasy? I’ve gotta say, I think I knocked it out of the park this week. The spaghetti squash stands up perfectly to the puttanesca sauce. And the sauce is a mix of salty (anchovies), fragrant (garlic), and spicy (chili peppers) flavors. I felt satisfied and full but not stuffed and bloated when I was done eating. YUM!! Plus, this dish is dairy-free, gluten-free, almost vegetarian (you could always leave out the anchovies completely if you want), diabetes-friendly, and paleo-friendly. No matter what type of allergy, intolerance or dietary constraint you have, this dish can be your friend. Your delicious friend that you devour, that is….!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 anchovy fillets, chopped (depends how much salt you want)
- 2 big tomatoes, diced
- 1-2 chili peppers, diced (depends how much spice you want)
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3 cups spaghetti squash
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsely for garnish
- Pecorino-Romano cheese (optional)
- Extra anchovy fillets (optional)
- Roast squash in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Take the squash out and cut it in half. I roast it first because it makes cutting easier. My knives suck and refuse to cut through a hard squash. Next, remove the seeds and top layer of flesh. Roast for another 35 minutes.
- Once the squash is done, use a fork to scrape along the insides. You will see the "spaghetti" magically appear. Seriously, its magical.
- You can go all the way to the skin. There is so much "spaghetti" in there! Look at all that yummy fake pasta. It goes a long way so this is a very economical dish.
- It's not hard to do the scraping but it does take a bit of elbow grease - that's the only reason this is a "medium" recipe rather than an easy recipe. But it's still pretty easy! Set the spaghetti aside.
- Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and anchovies, stirring frequently for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Trust me, you will know when it's fragrant - the garlicy anchovy smell will hit you like a brick wall of deliciousness.
- Next, add the tomatoes, chili pepper, capers, and oregano to the pan. Add black pepper to taste. You could add more salt at this point if you need too. My anchovies were very salty so I didn't add any more salt.
- Once everything's mixed together and starting to simmer, lower the heat and let simmer for five minutes. Add the spaghetti squash, mix together, and let simmer for another five minutes.
- Add the squash to a plate and top with the parsley. At this point, you can add more chopped anchovy fillets as garnish and some Pecorino-Romano depending on your preferences. I'm a salty person so I added a few chopped anchovies as a garnish and it was so good!