All right, let’s get started.
Easy Italian-ish Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash
1 jar marinara or your favorite homemade red sauce. (Since it is October, I strongly recommend the butternut- or pumpkin marinara from Aldi. I am not kidding and this is not an advertisement. It is THE BEST. But NOT the pumpkin chipotle. That ish is terrible and your babies will disown you.)
1 lb ground pork sausage. Sweet Italian is my fave.
1 jar pitted kalamata olives, sliced.
You can either bake or microwave your squash, depending on the time you have. Personally I think baking tastes better. But I could be out of my gourd. Ha. Dad puns.
If you are THAT short on time, poke some holes in your squash and microwave it for 10 to 15 minutes, then let it rest until you can handle it. Cut it in half and scrape out as you normally would. Still, you might have to finish it off on the stove to get it cooked all the way down. But maybe not. That answer is above my pay grade.
My way: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a 9×13 pan about 1/4 of the way with water.
Slice the squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut sides down in the pan of water. Bake squash until tender, about 40 to 60 minutes, or until a large fork easily goes through it.
While it’s baking, brown the sausage. Feel free to goose it up with diced bell peppers & onions, or whatever veggies you like in your sauce or on your pizza. Or fresh mushrooms. Any Italian-adjacent vegetables will work.
When the squash is done, let it cool until you can handle it without injuring yourself. Scrape it out with a big ol’ fork into your nice pasta bowl. Mix in sauce, sausage, and black olives.
You can use the canned black olives if you want. But I want you to have kalamata because it will make you happy. Listen, I know it’s generally associated with Greek food, but you’ll get over it. I believe in you.
Top liberally — liberal is not a bad word in my house — with canned Parmesan because today is Thursday. Save the fresh parmigiano reggiano for when the kids are … I don’t know, elsewhere … and you can safely eat red sauce on the sofa with your red wine while you catch up on Schitt’s Creek. Or use the good cheese on a Thursday if you really want to; go on with your bad self.
Personally I don’t like to share my aged cheese with the tiny people when I happen to have it. OK fine, I don’t even like to share it with my husband. It’s OK, he really doesn’t care about this particular cheese the way I do.
If you think I’m being mean? Trust me, my kids don’t need it; they are already wise to the deliciousness of fine Italian meats. You cannot have prosciutto in my house and expect it to last more then 30 seconds. These people are prosciutto-seeking missiles.
They are also wise to the fact that this dish is in no way similar in taste or texture or carb-happiness to a real spaghetti pasta dinner.
But that’s OK. This is our life now. I have gotten to the point where I don’t even LIKE pasta anymore. I know you don’t believe me but that’s OK.
Really, they should just be happy they’re getting the fancy olives.