Have you tried spaghetti squash yet? It’s a fantastic alternative to pasta, and it’s got a nice nutty flavor to it. They can be found at the market year-round and they’re super easy to prepare.
I’m in a “use everything in your fridge” stage of the week, so I figured I could make a pasta bake with spaghetti squash instead. You can use store-bought sauce, but I made this seriously good pasta sauce from scratch awhile ago and had some leftover. This is a much quicker process if you have already cooked squash, but if you’re starting this whole thing from scratch you can multitask since everything’s baking at the same temperature.
You will need:
- 1 spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- pasta sauce
- parmesan cheese
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy food)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Carefully cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Put a kitchen towel under the squash to prevent it from rolling around, and score the squash all around first to make the cutting process easier. Scoop out the seeds and guts, and then drizzle the inside with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Give it a nice rub, then place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Let the squash roast in your oven for about 45 minutes.
While that’s going, combine the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix together. Fun fact/side note: I hate ketchup. The smell makes me feel so sick, but I cook with it all the time. The ketchup seems like an odd addition, but it helps keep your meatballs moist—which is super clutch since turkey dries out easily.
Roll your mixture into meatballs and heat a large skillet over high heat.
Throw the meatballs in for a minute or two on each side, you just want to sear them. Transfer them to the oven for another 10-15 minutes (10 minutes if you’re using a cast iron skillet, give it a little while longer if you transfer them to baking sheet). If your squash is still roasting in there, throw it in anyway and set separate timers for each. Once the meatballs are done, remove and set aside.
As an added bonus, you will probably have leftover meatballs since this recipe makes about 16.
When your squash is cooked and cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape out the flesh. It should fall apart easily and look like little spaghetti strands.
Put your prepared squash in a baking dish. Place some meatballs in the dish, and pour your pasta sauce over. Sprinkle some cheese on top and let the entire dish bake in the oven until the cheese gets nice and brown, about 25 minutes. Or if you’re hungry and impatient like me, you can bake it for about 10 minutes and then broil it.