If you are like me, and probably like the rest of the west, you LOVE spaghetti with fresh homemade tomato sauce and fresh melted mozzarella and a drizzle of Parmesan. You would think that such a simple dish is a no brainer to find in any Italian restaurant, but actually it is. It is extremely rare to find really good pasta and homemade sauce- even in the finest Italian restaurants. I am not saying all.... but most are just not great.
The trick is you have to go to a place that makes their own pasta (impossible for your Gluten Free foodies) and fresh sauce, not some store bought commercialized can junk.
My father's two sisters live in Italy and growing up so did my mothers' sister, so I would visit Milano more times that you probably take the subway. Every night, we had pasta, and not too much variation from pasta pomodoro. Seems like the Italians like simple spaghetti and tomato sauce and that's it! Every night!
I remember how much I loved it and how I did not gain weight and neither did anyone in my family who ate pasta regularly. There must be something in their wheat (not Industrialized) and the way they just whip up some sauce from fresh tomatoes, that are so fragrant, I could wear it as perfume. Or maybe, just maybe- they are happy to eat. Eating is a joyous event. I never hear anyone talk about their weight and the fear of gaining weight from pasta.
In any event, I digress... Today's post is NOT about Spaghetti Pomodoro, as you may have been able to tell from the photos. Sorry for all the foreplay. It's about, the next best thing.... Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro. No fat, made at home and really good. You can cut chunks of fresh mozzarella onto the spaghetti squash and bake for 10 minutes. Then for extra richness, add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce
Yields: 2 servings
1 pound Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoon olive olive oil
2 to 3 small cloves of garlic
1/2 medium carrot
1/2 stalk of celery
Sea salt, to taste
Slivers of fresh basil, to finish
Directions for the Spaghetti Squash
Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Place the halves cut side down, in a roasting pan. Pour a little water around them and bake for 40 minutes or until tender. Do not allow to burn- cover with foil if necessary.
Directions for the Tomato Sauce
- Peel your tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small X at the bottom of each tomato. Blanche the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds, then either rinse under cold water or shock in an ice water bath. Peeling the tomatoes should now be a cinch.
- Coarsely chop your tomatoes on a cutting board.
- Finely chop the onion, and mince the carrot, celery and garlic.
- Heat your olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook your onions, carrots, celery and garlic, if you’re using them, until they just start to take on a little color, about 10 minutes. I really like to concentrate their flavor as much as possible. Add your tomatoes and bring to a simmer, lowering the heat to medium-low to keep it at a gentle simmer. Simmer your sauce, stirring occasionally. At 30 minutes, you’ll have a fine pot of tomato sauce, but at 45 minutes, you might just find tomato sauce nirvana: more caramelized flavors, more harmonized texture.
- Season with salt and serve.