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Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

November 27, 2010

Basil & garlic added to the sauce.


Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

It’s more than officially Fall in Bluffton. So much so, in fact, that I’m already getting tired of eating soups. After a couple of weeks of getting roped into staying late at work and then eating nothing but crackers for dinner, I decided it was high time to make some real [non-soup] food.

This summer, we accumulated more spaghetti squash than I have eaten in my entire life (probably because I have never previously eaten spaghetti squash). Around the time that I was scratching my head trying to figure out what to do with it, I came across a recipe for spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs in the October 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living. The recipe was tasty and fairly easy to prep: I cut the squash in half and threw it in the oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, I made the turkey meatballs (which were uncomplicated) and a sauce which consisted of broth, spinach, and some other tasty nom noms.

Meatballs pre-smooshing


Now, I don’t have anything against that version of spaghetti and meatballs, but I’ve had a hankering for marinara sauce, so I decided to modify the recipe from its original form. Whilst searching for the recipe on the Martha Stewart website, I found this variation from MSL in September 1996. The meatballs (still turkey) weren’t quite as simple as the ones I had done before – I didn’t want to mess around with milk and eggs. However, it gave me a starting point for the sauce. I combined the two recipes and made some modifications:

For the spaghetti squash:
2-4 pounds of spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and with seeds removed
sea salt

For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of torn basil leaves (+ more if you really like basil)
1 quart jar of tomato puree (or equivalent)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used the kind with basil, oregano, and garlic)
2 bell peppers [See my note below]

For the meatballs:
1.5 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T. breadcrumbs (I smashed up crackers instead)
1 onion, diced and cooked 8-10 minutes with some olive oil with garlic)

Start by dealing with the spaghetti squash to get it out of the way while you work on the meatballs and sauce. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the cut squash with some salt and place, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes.

First batch of meatballs.


Next, get the sauce going by putting the quart of home-canned tomato puree, store-bought diced tomatoes, and bell peppers in the blender. Pour this blend into a pot and add the basil and minced garlic. Be generous here! Add dried or fresh oregano and/or rosemary as well. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the sauce is thickening, smoosh all of the meatball ingredients together to make about 25 1.5 inch meatballs. Cook the meatballs in two batches over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Turn them a lot and cook them for 6-7 minutes.

My squash was done at approximately this point. I had learned from my earlier experience with spaghetti squash that it’s really annoying (and ouchie!) to scrape out the insides while the squash is super-hot. So, I added the meatballs to the tomato sauce while the squash was cooling. Note: the meatballs won’t be thoroughly cooked during the 6-7 minutes, so they need to cook for a minimum of 10 minutes with the sauce.
I let my sauce cook for another 20 minutes or so with the meatballs to thicken.

Meatballs in the sauce

We ate what we wanted, and then froze the rest in individual portions for lunches. Yummy!

Getting the spaghetti out of the squash.

My note about the bell peppers: We also had a TON of bell peppers from our garden this summer. Ray Person (farmer and Bluffton local) gave me this suggestion for preserving the peppers: wash gently and cut into fourths(ish). Remove the stem and the most obtrusive “ribs” from the peppers. Really, handle them as little as possible. Put the peppers into freezer bags.
Side note: if you’ve ever eaten frozen peppers, you know that they are watery and disgusting – hence, I puree them and put them in unsuspecting sauces.

Finished product.

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2 Comments
  1. I have a spaghetti squash in my kitchen right now….think I will do something like this…

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