This is one of those recipes that is handwritten into my spiral bound, covered-in-images-of-tomatoes, food splattered recipe book that I haven't updated in years but will never get rid of. This recipe book represents the time in my life when I was first cooking for myself (college), kind of learning as I went, calling my mom whenever I had a question (on the regular, from both the kitchen and the grocery store) and dutifully gathering favorite recipes from family and friends to write down for future use.
Many of the recipes in here are hard proof that I was at the beginner's level (glazed walnuts with two ingredients; one is sugar), some (very few) are a little more complicated (Ajiaco, granita), many are sentimental (Grandma's chocolate frosting with a secret ingredient, Mom's tomato sauce and meatballs) and a couple (such as this recipe) are the reason I still pull this cookbook out regularly.
This is one of many recipes my mom created while feeding a family of six daily. The ingredients are few but the dish turns out rich, flavorful and most of all, comforting.
Funny sidebar about my first attempt at making spaghetti squash. I was living away from home post-college and had heard of this amazing method of squash turning into spaghetti-like strands. I had to try it! I go to the grocery store, pick me up some squash, bake as directed, cut it open, start scraping, but, where are these spaghetti strands I'm supposed to be creating? I call my mom who explains the hard truth to me. It turns out there are dozens of types of squash but only one that will produce noodles...
RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash with Sausage & White Beans
Adapted from Meghan's mom, Mary Beth
- 1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
- olive oil
- sea salt
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chicken broth
- red pepper flakes (optional; will add extra heat if you use hot sausage)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 Italian sausages, out of casing (hot or sweet)
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle sea salt and give a few cracks of black pepper over the inside of the squash. Place cut side down on the baking sheet and cook for about an hour or until tender. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape out the insides. Season with salt and pepper, cover to keep warm and set aside.
- While the squash is cooking combine beans, broth and a pinch of salt in the blender until pureed. Set aside.
- Heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent.
- Add sausage to the pot and sauté until cooked, breaking the meat up along the way.
- Add the bean puree to the sausage mixture along with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, stirring together to make a sauce. Heat until warm through and sauce thickens a little. Season to taste.
- Serve over the spaghetti squash with freshly grated parmesan cheese.