This recipe is made for customizing. As written, it’s a great Meatless Monday dish. But feel free to add some browned ground beef or sausage, or crisped uncured bacon or pancetta if you are feeding stubborn carnivores. Swap out the butternut squash for pumpkin, or substitute spiralized, blanched zucchini “noodles” for the spaghetti squash. However you personalize it to your family’s preference, it’s sure to become a regular in your rotation of healthy Phase One “comfort” meals.
One medium spaghetti squash
One small butternut squash, peeled and shredded in processor or on the largest holes of a box grater
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons sweet butter One bunch fresh sage,
4-5 large leaves reserved, the remaining shredded (You should have about ¼ cup shredded sage.)
2-3 medium cloves garlic Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, depending on your tolerance for “heat”
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
In a 350° oven, toast pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, just until crisp. Set aside.
Turn heat to 375°. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place both halves cut-side down in a baking dish, adding ¾ cup water to the dish.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or just until strands come loose from the squash when scraped with a fork. The best texture to approximate “the real thing” is cooked until just tender.
When cooked, shred the inside of the squash with a fork; set aside and cover to keep warm. (You may want to only use half and reserve the remaining squash for a later meal.)
While spaghetti squash is in the oven, prepare the remaining ingredients. Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium to medium high heat. Drop in the whole sage leaves and fry just until crisp. Set aside on a paper towel to drain and reserve to use as garnish.
Add the garlic cloves, mashed, to the pan and cook about a minute to flavor the oil mixture. Remove cloves and discard. Add the shredded sage leaves and cook until fragrant, about a minute longer.
Add the shredded butternut squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or red pepper flakes.) Stir and toss for a couple of minutes, until beginning to soften. Add a tablespoon or so of water or stock and continue to cook until squash develops a creamy consistency, about 2-3 minutes more.
Add the reserved spaghetti squash to the pan and toss with tongs until combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and fried sage leaves and enjoy!