When I worked at the law firm, I used to go` out with my foodie boss to a local Italian restaurant called Clemenza’s. The owner still has family living in Italy and on my 21st birthday he made me a recipe he brought home with him from his recent trip to Italy. It had fresh basil and whole cherry tomatoes, shaved (SHAVED PEOPLE!!) Parmesan, and a brick oven fresh crust, Mama Mia!!! We came to love Clemenza’s so much, that we became regulars and the owner began to recognize us and greet us, sitting at our table and chatting.
One of the things I LOVED there was this amazing andouille sausage encrusted chicken on a bed of penne with this amazing creamy tomato sauce (drooling, pining, longing for….). From that point on, I determined that I was going to have to up my pasta sauce game.
The recipe for this sauce listed below WITH the cream added (I did not add the cream this time, this is a weeknight sauce so I went simple) is pretty close (the zucchini is added because, remember people, we are always looking to add MORE veggies into our diets). The sauce takes a while, but that’s because I’ve never met a good sauce that didn’t take a while to meld and marry the flavors together.
Spaghetti squash is yet another way of getting more vegetables into our diet and roasting it this way allows it to hold up some texture so it doesn’t taste like you are eating mushy noodles. There really is so much room for art with spaghetti squash, use butter, Italian seasonings, use lime and chili powder in other applications, the possibilities leave you with variety to say the least!
Ready, get set, go…..
- 3 lb ground chicken
- 1 small zucchini, diced finely
- 3 tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 5 fresh basil leaves chopped
- 1 tsp onion powder
(Save the juice that drains off of these for your red sauce!!)
Mix all ingredients while preheating the oven to 350°. Spray a cookie scooper with non-stick oil and scoop out the meat into balls with their sides touching, but not mashed in together. Bake for 20 minutes. While these are baking, start your sauce and roast your spaghetti squash.
Sundried Tomato Basil Sauce
- 1 jar organic Basil Pasta Sauce
- 1 can diced organic tomatoes with the juice
- 1/4 cup sundried tomato pesto
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 tbsp fresh basil chopped or 1 tsp dried
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp honey
- salt (added in layers as directed)
- juice from meatballs
- optional 1/4 cup heavy cream
Saute onion, garlic and zucchini until the zucchini and onion are fully cooked and the onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and salt the mixture lightly cooking on medium. Once the salt is mixed in, add all spices, pesto, broth, jar of sauce, honey and salt again. Simmer covered for 30 minutes, then simmer uncovered for 20 to thicken, then add meatballs (and if you are adding cream) to the sauce and simmer for 15-20 more minutes covered, then serve atop spaghetti noodles or spaghetti squash.
Preheat oven to 375° and cut the spaghetti squash in half from top to bottom (not an easy task! Be careful!). Place skin side down and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper (in this recipe I actually squirted coconut aminos all over and it was amazing). Bake for 45 minutes. You can also microwave it for 10-12 minutes if you are in a big hurry.