Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vegie Puttanesca Over Spaghetti Squash

Since my daughter became a vegan, I've been able to experiment with vegetables in whole new ways. I love this complex-tasting puttanesca sauce which can be served with or without the addition of ground beef or sausage (I use roasted chick peas in this recipe instead of meat) and served over high protein/fiber pasta (I used spaghetti squash here instead of pasta).

A puttanesca sauce can be adjusted according to your taste, but it needs something a bit salty and briney (capers, olives, anchovies, artichoke hearts, and or pepperocinis) to give it the wonderful "twang." I also like to balance that with something sweet (sundried tomatoes, raisins and/or brown sugar).

This is what I put in my puttenesca, but don't be intimidated by the ingredient list: it is what I had on hand in the fridge. Just pull out whatever you have in your fridge or pantry -- and as long as you have something salty & briney, and something sweet, to balance the basic marinara, you'll probably love the results.

Vegie Puttanesca Over Spaghetti Squash

Into a medium high skillet (I love my cast iron for this) saute 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 chopped onion in olive oil. Throw in any mixture of the following that you have on hand, stirring after each addition. (I do highly recommend that you use the chopped artichoke hearts, to me they are the most essential ingredient!)

1/3 - 1/2 c. chopped marinated artichoke heart
1/2 c. to 1 cup, any roasted vegies, diced. (eggplant, squash, peppers are wonderful, as are carrots, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash and broccoli)
1 T. capers
2 T. olives, chopped, any kind
2 T. pesto sauce (if you have it on hand... no worries if not)
2 T. chopped pepperocini peppers
2 T. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil, preferably)
1 - 2 T. brown sugar (this will depend on your taste and also how many "sour" ingredients that you put in your sauce that will need balanced by sweet)
1 T. chopped raisins, if you like raisins
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I like the ones with basil and garlic)

Simmer until sauce is thick and chunky, then season with salt, pepper, and Italian spices to taste. Serve with meat or beans over pasta or spaghetti squash

Roasted Garbanzo Beans ( Chick-peas )
Drain, rinse and pat dry a can of garbanzo beans. Pour them evenly on a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with olive oil, then roll them around. Sprinkle with salt or your favorite spiced salt. Roast at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are browned and crisped. (Shake them once or twice while baking so they can brown on two sides.)

Spaghetti Squash
Take a spaghetti squash and cut it in half length wise. Scoop out seeds. Put 1/2 cup water in the bottom of a big microwave proof bowl. Put one of the squash halves in the bowl, hole side up. (If it wobbles, trim a thin piece of the squash off the bottom so that it sits more level in the bowl.) Put the other squash half on top of the squash in the bowl. Don't cover it. Just put in microwave for 10 minutes. Test doneness by squeezing the top squash with a pot holder. If it squeezes easily, it is done. Take a fork and scrape "strings" of squash in spaghetti-like fashion.
Lightly salt, then top with sauce and roasted garbanzo beans. (You can also serve this with butter and pepper and nutmeg for a side dish.)

If you aren't vegan, you can sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

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