Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spaghetti Cravings

Going gluten-free usually means giving up a lot of things. Yes, you're giving up gluten, but you're also giving up things people take for granted like dining out, or being able to comfortably and safely eat a home-cooked meal with your friends and family.

Being Italian, my family eats a lot of pasta. Every Sunday, you will find a group of us (ranging from 10-30 on any given Sunday depending on the time of year and event) congregating at my grandparents house. We talk (okay, most of it is yelling), laugh, hug, and especially eat. For the majority of my family, this means pasta and lots of it. It also means breaded chicken. As far as eating goes, we are for the majority your stereotypical American-Italian family.



This is an on-going trial for me with gluten-free. I know how good my grandmother's pasta is. I know how much I miss it. But I also know how much pain I'll be in if I do eat it. This weekend, I was hit by an insatiable craving for spaghetti.

Fortunately, there's this amazing little vegetable called the spaghetti squash which totally rocks my world. It's super easy to prepare (as long as you give it enough time), and even reheats well for packed lunches. If I had more time, I would make my own sauce and go into some diatribe about how the best sauce is Nonna's homemade sauce, but as I don't have the time and I was just packing lunches, I'll let you in on the recipe for my current favorite packed lunch: Spaghetti Squash with Marinara.

Ingredients

  • One spaghetti squash (I used a pretty small one)
  • Marinara Sauce (I used about a half a jar)
  • Stew beef (optional, I added about a 1/3 pound of browned stew beef to the dish while it was baking to add some flavor)


Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350F.

Take one spaghetti squash and pierce the skin in a few places. Pop it in the microwave for a few minutes to soften the skin (it's really hard to cut otherwise). Slice it in half and remove the seeds. Place face down in a baking dish. Put in the oven and let bake for about 45 minutes. (Normally I'd bake it for about an hour, but it will be going back in the oven for this recipe).

Take it out and let it cool for a bit. Once it's cool enough to handle, remove the "spaghetti" by running a fork lengthwise through the squash. I then mixed this with some jarred marinara sauce and added the browned beef chunks and put it in a small casserole dish. Put the whole thing back into the oven for about another half hour.

And that's it. Seriously. I ate part of it for dinner that night and boxed the rest up for two lunches this week. I actually reheated some of it for my lunch today and it's fantastic. It even retains that al dente bite after reheating where pasta doesn't.
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