Grilled Italian sausage

For those of you who never tried it, spaghetti squash is one of the more remarkable vegetables in the world. As the name implies, it is a squash, that when cooked properly, resembles spaghetti. This delicious and healthy vegetable is the base of the dish and is served with grilled sweet Italian sausages, coupled with a simple, authentic pasta sauce which you can make on your own. Or, you can certainly use your favorite retail sauce if you want to keep the dish as simple as possible. But trust me, this sauce is worth preparing.

In terms of cooking the squash, the first thing you will do is pierce it five or six times, making sure you are getting past the skin and into the flesh. Then, microwave the squash for four minutes on high. It’s really important that you pierce the squash properly or you will end up with a squash explosion in your microwave. The purpose of this is to make the squash easier to cut. After it cools a bit, cut the squash in half lengthwise. This will still be difficult so be very careful. Now scoop out the seeds and place both halves in a shallow casserole dish flesh side down. This dish should have a little less than 1⁄4 of an inch of water. You are basically steaming the squash. Place the squash in a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Pasta Sauce Ingredients

n 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

n 1 onion - chopped

n 3 cloves of garlic - chopped

n 2 Tbs olive oil

n 1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes (eliminate if you don’t want any heat)

n 8 to 10 leaves of fresh basil, chopped

n 1 tsp sugar

n Salt and pepper to taste

Over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for three to five minutes. Now add the remainder of the ingredients and allow to simmer over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. If it starts boiling too rapidly reduce the heat. While the sauce is simmering and the squash is baking, pierce the sausages a few times with a fork on both sides and set up the grill for indirect heat. The piercing keeps the sausages from splitting. Grill them with the lid closed on the portion of the grill that is not directly over the flame. Finish them off directly over the coals or flame to create color and texture.

Remove the sauce from the heat and puree. We have one of those cool immersion tools which allow you to blend/puree in the pot. I would suggest having one of those in your cooking toolbox. Not only do they work beautifully but they are fun to use. In fact for a brief moment I imagined myself being on The Food Channel. With a fork, pull out the strands of spaghetti squash and place on a plate. Place a sausage link on the squash (you can cut it up if you want) and liberally drizzle with the pasta sauce. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and add some fresh basil leaves which you have cut into strips. Enjoy!

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