1 large spaghetti squash or 2 small ones
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced or crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 can (3 oz) tomato paste
1 cup ricotta cheese
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella
~ 1 T. Balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1/2 t. Red pepper flakes
1/2 t. Smoked paprika
1 t. Italian seasoning
6-8 Fresh basil, chopped
Tip: to more easily cut your squash, poke several holes in it and microwave it for 5 minutes, turning once. It will soften it a bit. Also, use a good knife.😉
Heat oven to 400. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Season inside with olive oil and salt and pepper, place on baking sheet, flesh side up, and roast for 30 minutes. Depending on the size of the squash, it may need more time. If it doesn’t easily shred from the sides, give it another 10 minutes. Just keep doing that until it’s perfect.
While the squash is roasting, add olive oil to a large skillet and once it warms, add the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned. Add diced tomatoes (if you have a meat chopper, use that to break them down a bit more – I prefer them less chunky, but it’s also hard to find fire roasted in the crushed variety, so just do what feels right and good to you and I’ll do the same.😛) Add tomato paste, stir to combine. Add seasonings (by now, everyone knows I don’t measure well because I’m terrible as a “test kitchen” person, so we’ll default to doing what feels right to you. I tried to make guesses shrugs shoulders). Also add a bit of balsamic vinegar and the bay leaf.
Now, I need you to trust yourself. If you have chicken broth, this is a good time to get it out, but if not water is fine, too. (If you use water, be sure to taste it because you may want to adjust the seasonings some.) We want the sauce to have a thicker consistency than a traditional “spaghetti sauce” and be more of a ragu sauce, so you might have to add just a little liquid or a bit more. We don’t want it runny, we want it meaty, but it needs to still be a little saucy. Does this make sense? I hope so. Let the sauce continue to cook while your squash is finishing up.
While the squash is roasting and the sauce is cooking, shred some mozzarella. I used provolone because it’s what I had, but mozzarella would be fine, too. Add half the shredded cheese to a small bowl with the ricotta and about 5-6 fresh basil leaves, mix well.
When the squash is done, carefully shred the flesh away from the skin with a fork and add the squash to the pan with the ragu (remove the bay leaf first). Divide the ricotta mixture evenly among the squash skins and add squash/ragu on top. Layer with the remaining mozzarella and broil until browned. Top with remaining fresh basil, and eat!