Servings: 2 dinner portions plus a lunch
Total time: 30 mins with canned tomatoes, 45 min with fresh tomatoes 


Ingredients:

Small (2-3 pounds) spaghetti squash cut in half and seeds removed, do not peel 0.5 pounds of your favorite sausage.  I like a mild Italian pork sausage.

2T olive oil

1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped

4-6 oz mushrooms, remove stems if desired, roughly chopped.  I like shitakes. 

2 cloves of garlic peeled, crushed with flat side of a chef’s knife then cut into slivers

28 oz can of whole tomatoes or 2 pounds of fresh with peels removed

Herbs, whatever you have, fresh is best: 1T oregano or 3T chopped basil or 1T thyme. Halve the amount if using dried

1/4 – 1/2t ground cayenne or red pepper flakes

Liberal freshly course ground black pepper

1/8t salt

6-8 oz of freshly grated Parmesan

Equipment:

chefs knife and cutting board

sauce pan or dutch oven and stirring spoon

skillet and stiff spatula

9×13 microwave safe dish

baking sheet with lip to broil the shells


Preparation For fresh tomatoes, boil a pot of water deep enough to cover the tomatoes.  Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato. Once boiling dip the tomatoes in the water for 15-20 seconds.  They will peel easily when you pull them out.  They likely will squirt out of their skins, but sometimes only the flaps of the x are loose and I have to pull the rest of the skin off.

  1. In a dutch oven or sauce pan on medium-high, heat oil then cook onions, mushrooms, and garlic for 5 minutes.  The onions will become translucent.
  2. Add can of whole tomatoes, crushing them with your hands.  Add herbs, pepper, salt and cook for 20 min at a slow boil until it starts to thicken.
  3. In a skillet, cook sausage.  Use a still spatula or wooden spoon to break the sausage into 1/2″ pieces.  Add cooked sausage to the sauce.
  4. In a microwave safe 9×13 inch dish with 1/4 inch of water place squash halves open side down. Microwave for 8 minutes on high then let sit for 5 min
  5. Turn on broiler and set rack 9-10″ below broiler. 
  6. You are going to use the squash halves to serve the mixture so avoid puncturing them.  Use a serving fork to scrape the squash out of the shells.  They come out like a mass of noodles.  Add them to the sauce and sausage mixture and stir it all up.  (link to how to video)
  7. Fill the shells with the mixture in layers, but first put 1.5 cups in a lunch container.  Add some mixture to each shell and then sprinkle liberally with cheese.  Add another layer of mixture then cheese.  Then divide the rest of the mixture between the 2 shells and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the shells and the lunch portion.  Taking a bit for lunch discourages the shells from overflowing. 
  8. Broil for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and brown, but not burnt. 
  9. NotesCan be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled covered.  Bring to room temperature so the cheese doesn’t get overdone waiting for the insides to heat up.  Bake on 400 for 30 minutes. Can be doubled using a large 4-5 pound spaghetti squash To cut squash in half I rest it on a cutting board then I stab my chef’s knife through the middle to the other side.  I hold the squash on the end away from the knife blade and press the handle towards the cutting board firmly, but it control.  Sometimes I need to stand the stabbed squash on its end to get more leverage to get the knife through.  Then I turn the quash around and split the other side