We’ve made it to Friday, glory hallelujah!
We have absolutely no plans for the entire weekend, and I’m perfectly happy with that since the weather is supposed to go from sunny and 70, to dreary and 45. I’m making this copycat Imo’s pizza for dinner tonight, and then I think I might make this soup to keeps us warm on Saturday night, and I’m going to pray it’s the last soup I need to keep me warm until fall – although I’m guessing that won’t be the case. I also think we might take Teddy for his first Dunkin’ Donuts experience, although I might push Kev to try the new doughtnut shop that just opened up instead, because every time I drive by it, I can’t stand the fact that I haven’t tried it yet.
Sunday dinner is still up in the air for us, but if you’re still looking for the perfect way to wrap the weekend up, look no further than this Roasted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Squash Lasagna.
Roasted, almost aldente spaghetti squash is tossed with a homemade cherry tomato sauce, a good amount of crispy Italian sausage and then layered between fresh mozzarella and homemade ricotta cheese for a sort of hybrid between a lasagna and a baked ziti, but without the white flour pasta.
So, I’ll be upfront with you, there are a few steps to get to the finished product, but that’s why I’m suggesting you make this for a Sunday dinner. It’s not something that’s going to take you hours to make, but it’s also not something you can whip up in 30 minutes on a weeknight, so Sunday dinner it is.
To start, I roast two small spaghetti squash with just a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. I like to use a couple of small ones since they’re easier to cut and because they cook up faster, but if your store only has a large squash, just know you need it to yield about 4 ½ cups of spaghetti strands. When using spaghetti squash as a replacement to pasta, it’s really important to not overcook it, which can result in the veggie losing it’s bite, and basically turning to mush, so I like to cook it just until it’s an aldente-like texture, similar to pasta.
While the squash cooks, the oven does double duty and roasts the olive oil coated tomatoes along with some garlic for the base of the sauce. The wonderful thing about making a fresh tomato sauce, is you really don’t need a lot of ingredients, other than the tomatoes themselves, I only used olive oil, salt, and pepper. I was going to add just a touch of sugar, but the tomatoes were surprisingly sweet, if you feel like they need a little something, just add in a half a teaspoon or so of sugar.
The next step is totally optional – homemade ricotta. I’m super picky about ricotta and I will only eat homemade, I just don’t like what most stores have to offer, and it’s super easy to make your own, so that’s what I do. If you want to make your own, you can find the recipe, here, if not, just make sure to buy a good quality whole-milk version, and nothing low fat or with any added sugar.
After the squash, tomatoes and ricotta are finished up, everything gets tossed together, layered in a casserole dish and baked until the cheese is gooey and hot.
Pair it with a side salad, some red wine, and Sunday dinner is done.
- 2 small spaghetti squash, should yield 4½ cups squash
- 2½ Tbsp. olive oil
- 1¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 lbs. cherry or grape tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves, skin on
- 3 Italian sausage links, cases removed
- 1 cup homemade ricotta
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 8x8 squash baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Half squash. Use a spoon to scoop out seeds. Drizzle flesh with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil. Season with ½ tsp salt. Place flesh-side down on a large, rimmed baking sheet.
- Add cherry tomatoes and garlic to a large bowl. Add remaining olive oil. Toss. Spread on to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.
- Place both the squash and the tomatoes in the oven. Roast until the tomatoes are blistering and starting to burst, about 25 minutes. Roast the squash until it's fork-tender, but still toothsome, about 35 minutes.
- While squash and tomatoes cook, brown up the sausage in a large non-stick skillet over a medium-high heat. Drain and set aside.
- Once tomatoes are done, transfer to a bowl. Peel skin off garlic and add to bowl. Use a potato masher to turn the tomatoes and garlic in to a sauce, don't worry about pureeing it, it should have texture. Add browed sausage. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Use a fork to turn the squash in to spaghetti. Add to a large bowl. Toss with ½ of the cherry tomato sauce. Layer ½ of the squash in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Cover with half of the remaining sauce. Dot with all of ricotta. Sprinkle half of mozzarella on top. Cover with remaining spaghetti squash, followed by remaining fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
- Place in the oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.