The whole essence of my blog is beautiful and interesting food that is practical. I like food to be clean in concept and execution. At this point in my life, if something is too involved I will shy away from it. With a 9 week old to care for you don’t usually spend extra time doing anything but sleeping. Also, being post-partum encourages me to think about everything I put in my mouth. I try to swap things out where I can. For example, I have been eating my morning eggs with a few small organic brown rice cakes instead of my usual bread accompaniment.
Another good swap out can be to substitute spaghetti squash for pasta. Wait wait wait! I know what you are thinking. You are not fooled. Squash is not pasta. And I agree. In most applications with spaghetti squash, there isn’t even a small part of me that will be taken back to my Tuscan roots with Nona’s homemade fettuccine (p.s. I’m polish). But in this particular dish we perform the greatest magic trick and end up with a truly sensational dish that will even satiate Nona. Enter stage right- my Fake Ziti.
Just like it sounds, my Fake Ziti is a baked dish of squash, cheese and sauce. The edges are crunchy, while the middle is cheesy. While most spaghetti squash recipes use the vegetable as a tasty side dish, here we shift the focus to create a main dish that is super filling and very satisfying. Oh, and there are never any leftovers to speak of.
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Yield: 1 large Pyrex dish
Rating: A real keeper. Put it in your rotation. Now.
2 medium spaghetti squashes
½ teaspoon of salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I use mozzarella or Munster)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 24 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I like the Gefen Pasta Sauce)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. (or 350 degrees convection)
Take your spaghetti squashes and cut it down the middle length-wise. Remove and discard all of the seeds inside. Take your squash and place them on a tray face up. Spray the squash with your oil spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes uncovered. You will know it is cooked enough when it is fork tender.
Using a large fork, scrape out all of the spaghetti flesh and put it into a large baking sheet. Try to loosen the spaghetti strands as you go. Discard the skin from the squash. Using gloved hands (my preferred method, but you can use a utensil if you want), thoroughly mix both cheeses and the sauce into the squash until completely mixed together. Bake uncovered for 1 hour.
This will keep for 1 week in the fridge. Re-warm uncovered in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Also, this is a perfect item to make ahead becuase it is almost tastier on the second day.