10Jun

A Lighter Alternative to PASTA this Summer… (from a full-blooded guinea)

I love pasta.  Who doesn’t?! But what I don’t love is HOW I feel AFTER the delicious meal: bloated, frustrated for being so out of control with my portions, the crash that follows the meal, and the guilt that often times accompanies too much of this amazingly delicious Italian specialty.    And the fact is, that many refined carbohydrates, or processed grains leave us feeling this way. It’s a fact. Refined carbs (wheat in particular), like bagels, pasta, crackers, pretzels, breads just leave us feeling blah… for many, it’s hard to stop the cycle that ensues – after a few bites, we’re left feeling unsatisfied and we feel the urge to eat more.  For others, starting the day off with refined carbs leads us on a sugar or carb roller coaster for the remainder of the day.  For others, it might lead to feeling tired and lethargic.  All these side affects are real.  And I’m happy to talk to you about the rationale behind this phenomenon (email me to carry on with the discussion), but the intent of today’s post is to provide you with a lighter alternative to pasta for this summer season :) .

Spaghetti squash is a great way to enjoy sauces, meats, veggies and beans, anything actually, that you love to pair with your pasta of choice:  penne, rigatoni, spaghetti, farfalle (a few of my favs).   AND, what’s even better (as compared with our nutrient-poor pastas) is that this vegetable contains a wide range of vitamins.   A 1-cup serving offers 5.4 mg of vitamin C, which is almost 10 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. Other vitamins include A, B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin K.

Take a peek at how easy it is to prepare!  Step 1.  Saute, cook, roast, the toppings that you love (or just open a jar of marinara!) Step. 2.  Roast your spaghetti squash in the oven for 40 minutes or until the pulp peels away from the skin.CknSuasageVeggiesSpaghettiSqTwo of my favorite ways to enjoy are photo’d below.  Recipe to follow:

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Sauted Broccoli RabeSpagSquashBroccoliRabe

 

Spaghetti Squash with Asparagus & White BeansIMG_8191

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash (3-4 lbs)
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

for the sauce for the SECOND photo above

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • ¼ cup white cooking wine
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ can canalleni beans, rinsed & drained
  • Parmesean cheese & red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop the seeds and inner membranes out of the hollows then sprinkle with salt & pepper.  Place both halves down on a rimmed baking sheet. Fill the sheet with about ½ inch of water.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the squash becomes translucent and the skin begins to soften.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out the fleshy “noodles” with a fork and place in a bowl.

To make the sauce, first toss the chopped asparagus with olive oil and sauté for about 3 minutes on each side until the asparagus is at your desirable crunchiness. Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside in a dish.  Meanwhile, blend (using a mixer/food processor) the can of tomatoes and chopped onions.  Add this mix to the olive oil in the same saucepan you used for the asparagus. Allow the tomatoes to cook until they start to bubble.  Add in the white wine and a about 2 tablesppons of water (or chicken/vegetable stock).  Cook for another 5-8 minutes.  Add in the beans and the asparagus for a just a few more minutes.

Top the squash with the sauce and season with Parmesean cheese and red pepper flakes.

 

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