I’ve been in the mood for pasta these days, real deal pasta. I think it’s my body wanting to put on some insulation for the winter.
I’m not one to go all pumpkin crazy in the fall but this one was obvious. Making zucchini noodles in the fall would be a heinous crime against the food blogosphere.
So I come to you baring this homely meal. But you know what they say — ugly foods are beautiful on the inside. And if you pretend hard enough the spaghetti squash will start to taste like real pasta.
Really though, if you have a strong pasta background like me (I was given honourary Italian status) it helps to not give the spaghetti squash centre stage. This usually only means one thing: MEAT.
I went with a sweet Italian sausage inspired recipe but used ground lamb. I felt it inappropriate to drown the liquorice-y sausage with a tomato sauce so I kept it simple with the spice-infused ghee and lemon sauce.
Just to round things out it’s topped with fake pangritata made with slivered almonds. Dare I say it’s better than the real thing?
If you have the foresight the prepare the squash and sausage ahead of time, this meal only takes 15 minutes to get on the table on a weeknight!
Lamb Sausage Spaghetti (Squash) with Almond “Pangritata”
- 3½-4 pound spaghetti squash (~5 cups cooked)
- 1 teaspoon ghee
- 1 clove garlic, grated with a microplane
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound medium ground lamb
- 1 small white onion, chopped (~1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (less if using a fine salt)
- ¼-½ crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 2 big handfuls baby spinach (rapini would work well)
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
With a sharp knife cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
Divide the teaspoon of ghee and garlic clove between the two halves and rub all over the fresh.
Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking tray to bake in a preheated 400° oven for one hour.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl add the ground lamb with the minced onions and garlic.
Add the seasonings for sausage: fennel, black pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and crushed pepper.
Mix it with a fork as not to over mix or mess with the fat content of the meat with your hands.
In a large skillet, heat the ghee on medium-high heat (use two tablespoons of ghee if your lamb is lean). Add the sausage meat to the skillet and slightly break up so you have a mixture of small and large chunks. Fry the meat until it starts to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
In the meanwhile scoop the spaghetti squash strands by running a fork through it…
…and make the pangritata by heating the ghee in small skillet on medium heat with the slivered almonds, parsley, minced garlic and crushed pepper until they are lightly brown, about 3 minutes.
Once the meat has browned turn off the heat and add the spinach and spaghetti squash right away.
Season with salt and pepper and juice of half a lemon and toss well by separating the clumps of squash with tongs.
Serve the spaghetti and squeeze the rest of the lemon overtop the individual servings with a sprinkle of the almond pangritata.