Unfortunately, what should be summer everywhere else in the country is pretty foggy and cold in San Francisco – or what I like to refer to as “grody.” A buddy of mine (who shall be known as Spicoli from this point forth) once rhymed, “June’s gloom, July’s a lie, and August is the foggiest.” And that’s pretty much how it goes. I feel bad when people come to visit during the summer and they pack all these shorts and tank tops, only to realize they should be wearing jeans, boots, and a Northface.
So I’m not crazy when I am craving a warm spaghetti dinner in the middle of July. But not just any spaghetti, but my favorite combination of spaghetti squash, spicy tomato sauce and turkey meatballs. Healthy, unique and delicious.
You can find spaghetti squash during the fall and winter at most markets – or in California, pretty much year-round. It’s a great alternative to pasta and super easy to prepare (just follow these simple directions from my friend, Rebecca Goldfarb of The Social Table).
For this recipe, a small spaghetti squash will make two servings and a large one will give you four. I opted for a small one since it’s just me and my leftovers. Be sure to start cooking the squash before you prepare anything else for the meal. Once the squash is in the oven (per Rebecca’s instructions), you can start making the meatballs and tomato sauce.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp or more of red pepper flakes (to taste)
- 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
- handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt to taste
Start by heating the olive oil in a large pot over a medium-low flame. Once oil is hot, add onions, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the onions begin to soften. Add the zucchini and continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, wine, cherry tomatoes, oregano and salt and simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the meatballs.
Turkey Meatballs (makes 6-8 small ones)
- 4 oz ground turkey breast
- 1 TB egg whites
- 1 TB bread crumbs
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp italian seasoning
- salt and pepper
Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll it between your hands to form a ball. When the spaghetti squash is about 10 minutes from being done, add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and increase the heat slightly. Cook the meatballs partially covered for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat back to simmer.
By now your oven timer has beeped and your spaghetti squash should be taken out of the oven. LET IT COOL FOR AT LEAST FIVE MINUTES. It will still be hot when you touch it, so sometimes I use an oven mitt to handle the squash, and use my dominant hand to fork out the “spaghetti.” Again, refer to Rebecca’s video for more instruction.
Top the squash with your tomato sauce and a few meatballs. Garnish with grated parmesan and chopped basil. I love this dish because the texture of the spaghetti squash is a nice change of pace from soft pasta, but it’s still so filling. I couldn’t even finish my plate. But I’m glad because the leftovers will be even better.
Pair this dish with a light Pinot Noir or a fruity Merlot, such as 2007 JAQK Cellars “Bone Dance”. The hint of spice in the Merlot compliments the heat of the tomato sauce, which in turn helps bring out the dark fruit in the wine. You can also use (and drink) this wine when you’re cooking the tomato sauce.