When it comes to preparing a recipe, it is only natural to be lured into cooking one that is a little naughty. We see wonderful food on the covers of magazines and on food blogs that is very tempting. I cook naughty occasionally and might prepare something like my classic Italian Sunday feast…pasta with a sauce cooked with a variety of meats and sausages and topped with whipped basil ricotta. It is one of my husband’s favorites and something that his mother served when he was growing up. Most of the year, I try to cook nice, heathy dishes like this spaghetti squash with chicken meatballs and basil tomato sauce. Naughty or nice, I have to say that both meals are delicious.
I’m not going to tell you that spaghetti squash will ever replace pasta in our home but the twirl-able, spaghetti like strands of this vegetable makes an excellent alternative when you want a healthy dish while trying to loss a couple of unwanted pounds. Serving the spaghetti squash with a tomato sauce that is simmered with chicken meatballs made with fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes…is a healthy and delicious meal.
Spaghetti Squash With Chicken Meatballs And Basil Tomato Sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
One squash will serve two people so plan accordingly. Carefully cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle the insides with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Take a fork and scrape the flesh into pasta like stands and place into a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season with salt, pepper and a little grated cheese. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Basil Tomato Sauce
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 c. dry white wine (optional)
- 4 cups of basic tomato sauce* or canned whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil** to added later, plus some extra for garnish
- Basil leaves for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the garlic until it becomes fragrant and just starts to turn golden. Add the wine (if using) and let cook until reduced by half. Add the basic tomato sauce, the dried basil, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Keep warm.
*My basic sauce was made from fresh summer tomatoes that I grow in our garden each summer. I cook and then freeze the sauce in quart containers to use throughout the year. This particular sauce was made from yellow and orange tomatoes and had a very sweet tomato taste . You can read how I prepare the basic sauce in the link above.
Chicken Meatballs With Basil And Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
- 1/2 onion, chopped fine
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp. minced sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
- 2 Tbsp. grated cheese (I used Pecorino Romano)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp. each of garlic powder, salt and pepper
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
Mix all the ingredients (except the oil) together and form into small meatballs about an inch and a half in diameter. Heat a nonstick sauté pan and add the oil. When the oil starts shimmer, add the meatballs and brown well on all sides.
When meatballs are brown, add to the tomato sauce and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chopped fresh basil** to the sauce and stir.
When ready to serve, put a serving of spaghetti squash on each plate, top with some of the chicken meatballs and a couple of spoonfuls of the marinara sauce. Garnish the dish with some chopped fresh basil and basil leaves. Serve the remaining sauce at the table along with some grated cheese.
I’m sure you are wondering what my husband thought of the spaghetti squash with chicken meatballs and basil tomato sauce. He loved the meal and said that he would enjoy having it anytime of the year. Of course, don’t ask him to give up his Sunday feast. I can be naughty and cook it occasionally but we will be nice and eat healthy meals for most of the year .