Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Puttanesca originated in Naples in the mid 19th century and is usually made with pasta, capers, tomatoes, garlic and hot peppers. Since I had a spaghetti squash I need to use up, I made this dish. It turned out wonderfully. Below is my own version of this!!

(Hidden under that luscious sauce is the shredded spaghetti squash!)

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash cut in half horizontally with seeds removed
  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper or red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 stems of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup of whole black olives (optional)
  • 2 cups of Prego pasta sauce
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions

Drizzle olive oil over each half of squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side  down in a Pyrex dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven uncovered for 60 to 75 minutes.

Remove squash and let cool before shredding each half with forks. Be careful not to puncture the squash skin! Cover loosely with foil. Let it rest while preparing the sauce.

In a large frypan (or wok – I love using a wok when preparing sauce for spaghetti), brown the beef, stirring frequently. When there is no more pink, add the 2 cups of pasta sauce.

Stir to combine all of the meat, adding the diced jalapenos (optional) or red pepper flakes

Add the pitted black olives and 1 stem of basil LEAVES and stir to combine.

Uncover the bowl of spaghetti squash shreds and pour the sauce the shreds.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and the leaves from the other basil stem.

Serve.

Stacked Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

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Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, (beefsteak, yellow, and heirloom), sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • Tapenade, recipe follows*
  • 1-pound goat cheese, thinly sliced (or use Mozzarella, but goat is better)
  • Fresh basil leaves and sprigs, for layering and for garnish

Sweet Basil Dressing, recipe follows below

Directions

Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Then place a slice of the goat cheese on top, add a few basil leaves, and finish with another tomato slice. You can add another layer to make Napoleon as high as you desire. Top with another small spoonful of the tapenade and then drizzle the Sweet Basil Dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and repeat to make 4 to 6 plates. For a smaller version, use Roma tomatoes.

Tapenade (Honestly, I buy a small jar at the store…a whole lot easier)

  • 2 cups kalamata or niçoise olives, pitted
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine olives, garlic, anchovies and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sweet Basil Dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup pure olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (roll the leaves in a little tube shape and slice across the leaves)

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and then stir in the basil.

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