However, when we recently joined CrossFit I faced another huge challenge in switching from vegetarianism to once again eating meat. We did so after my husband had been a vegetarian since he was very young and me being one since we were married 15 years ago. Being a Scientist (PhD in Physics) Cliff couldn’t ignore the evidence that CrossFit presented us in this new diet. We have both benefited from this diet that features eating tons of veggies, some fruit, grass-fed, humane meat, and no processed foods!
My mother was a great Italian American cook and though distressed by our vegetarianism, took it as a challenge to make delicious vegetarian Italian food. She found a way for me to make her red sauce without meat. It was delicious and I’ve been making it for years.
Now in the last few weeks I’ve made it twice with meat…and it’s the most flavorful sauce I’ve ever made. People have enjoyed my vegetarian sauce but now I can’t wait to share this new version with guests!
Here’s my recipe, modify as you see fit.
Meat Sauce over Spaghetti Squash
(Based on my Aunt’s recipe from her region of Basilicata in Italy)
- In a large 6 quart pot or Dutch oven put 2 to 3 tablespoons of high quality olive oil and put at least a half of teaspoon of crushed red pepper to infuse it into the oil. (I use quite a bit more as we both love spicy foods!)
- Sauté 4 large Sausages in the oil and pepper (casing removed) for about 10 minutes. I use US Wellness Grass-fed Italian Beef Sausage (link to US Wellness Meats).
- Cover with ground or powered garlic. Lightly cover the entire area of meat.
- With a nod to Mario Batali, the last few times I have added 3/4 of a cup of red wine. My Mother would not approve, but it did give an extra richness to the sauce. If you use the wine, first cook it down for 10-15 minutes over the meat before you add the tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, split a spaghetti squash in half and bake it on a cookie sheet face down for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover the cookie sheet barely with water so the squash steams in it. It’s done when you can easily stick a fork into the hard shell. You will use a fork to scrape the squash out of the shell. It looks a bit like angel hair pasta!
- Now add two 28 ounce cans of crushed or diced tomatoes. I love San Marzano tomatoes, considered to be the best tomatoes in the world! (link to San Marzano Tomatoes).
- Fill one of the cans with water and add to the sauce. More water can be added, but to get a rich tomato taste don’t water it down.
- Then add a small 6 oz. can of tomato paste and mushrooms if you like. Cook it down for a bit.
- Cover the top with Oregano
- Cover the top with Parsley
- Cover the top with a good Sea Salt
- Add a pinch of fennel seeds
- Go very lightly with Basil (too much makes it sweet) maybe a pinch or two
- Enough Parmesan cheese to cover the top (you can skip this if you don’t want to eat dairy).
- If you use fresh spices use more as they are not as intense.
- Now simmer the sauce for about 3 hours
- Don’t let it boil or a lot of your sauce will evaporate
- Serve over Spaghetti Squash
It tastes even better the next day!