The garden is coming to an end and I have mixed emotions. I am going to miss walking out to the garden and pulling my herbs and veggies fresh from the soil and dicing them into the pan. On the flip side, it’s about this time of the year that I am tired of all the hoeing, weeding, canning, freezing and I am ready for a break. Tonight’s recipe is using up the last of the garden’s bounty. I am serving up spicy Italian flavors in a spaghetti squash boat using fresh oregano and basil.
I wanted to keep the filling simple by concentrating on the herbs and vegetables. I choose not to include any sauce. I really want the freshness to be the star.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once it comes to a boil stir in a 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup of arborio rice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low simmering uncovered until rice is fluffy and all liquid is absorbed, about 10 – 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When hot add 1 small diced onion, 1 diced green pepper, and 3 cloves of minced garlic cooking until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add 1 pound of Italian sausage to skillet and cook until no longer pink, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add back the onions and peppers and mix.
Transfer to the bowl with the rice.
Mix in 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 10 fresh chopped basil leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh loosely chopped oregano, ¾ cup cubed mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well. BTW, you can stop right here and have a delish rice side dish. It is that good!
Cut a spaghetti squash vertically. Be careful! The shell of the squash is quite hard. Cut with caution. Scoop out the seeds leaving a nice squash bowl. I like to season the squash with some smoked paprika and sea salt to allow some flavors to bake down to the shells giving the pulp some nice seasoning before filling.
Scoop the rice mixture into the squash filling the bowl.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Place in a baking pan, or casserole. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
Although spaghetti squash and herbs are about all that is left in my summer garden I’m not too sad. Because this is the time of the year I get into my jeep and travel near and far to the wonderful farmers’ markets filled with fall and winter produce. I hope you call shotgun and come along with me to pick out pumpkins, apples, carrots, and a variety of winter squash and come up with some delicious recipes. It’s fall time y’all! – Ella💙
Italian Stuffed Squash
• 3/4 cup arborio rice
• 2 cups water
• 1 pound Italian sausage
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 green pepper, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
• 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
• 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
• 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half vertically
• Olive oil
• Parmesan cheese
• Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Bring the water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir in rice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Simmer and cook uncovered until all liquid is absorbed, about 10 – 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When hot add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the rice.
- To the rice add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, to taste. Mix well.
- Cut the squash vertically and scoop out the seeds.
- Scoop the rice mixture into the squash.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese over stuffing.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.