Spaghetti Squash and Sausage

I cannot believe its been four months since I last posted. Four months! Its not as if I haven’t been cooking. Well, maybe I wasn’t cooking as much as I did before, and I haven’t been taking as many photos.  But I was reminded by a dear friend this weekend that people do actually check my blog, and are waiting for another post… so I’ll start out with my most recent creation, and try to work backwards a bit.

This summer was the foggiest I’ve ever experienced in Santa Barbara, which translated into *terrible* conditions for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Its only been in the last month that we’ve seen (sort of) consistent sunshine! My eggplants are very late bloomers (just getting a few small ones now), as are the peppers that survived.  We spent a lot of weekends away, climbing and camping and enjoying all that California has to offer. One of my favorites was a weekend at Santa Rosa Island – just off the coast, it takes many hours to arrive and feels like you’re worlds away.

Some garden highlights: abundant summer and winter squash of all different varieties (the red turban were sweet-looking, but not great on flavor). My first experience growing corn successfully, and lima beans. Pineapple guava and pomegranate trees heavy with fruit. Even with the foggy weather, some of my tomatoes really pulled through; the lemon plum tomatoes produced well, and were to-die-for when roasted and layered in olive oil (this comes to play later in this post). And finally I had a good year with basil!

Over Labor Day, two friends of mine got married. The weekend was filled with wedding events: rehearsal dinner (I was in the wedding), the Pier to Peak half marathon (on the morning of the wedding, both the bride and groom ran it), frosting and decorating cakes (I made the wedding cakes with my friend Heather)… oh yeah, and then an awesome, very fun wedding. The bride had recently taken up hunting, and shot a pig for the caterers to roast for the wedding feast. She got such a big pig, that half was made into sausage and other pork products. I suggested a trade- sweet Italian sausage for a dozen eggs? Sold.

This past weekend we had dinner guests, so I decided it would be a perfect time to whip out the sausage and combine it with one of our spaghetti squashes. Add in onions, bell pepper, the last of our lemon plum tomatoes, and some curly kale… we had sauce. While it got rave reviews the first time around, I decided to take the leftovers a step further by pureeing some of those roasted tomatoes in their olive oil to make a sauce and mixed that into the spaghetti squash (along with some leftover roasted brussel sprouts). It definitely added that extra layer of depth to this dish.

I’m going to go ahead and say that this dish is the culmination of my 2010 “locavore” culinary endeavors: lots of things grown in our garden, plus the very special sausage that my friend hunted herself. Hard to beat!

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Vegetables

1 spaghetti squash

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper (I liked red, yellow, or orange), chopped into medium pieces

8-10 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch kale, roughly chopped

1 lb Italian sausage

Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds, and put it cut side down in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for 45 min to 1 hr – until a fork easily goes into the flesh.

While its baking, first saute the sausage by squeezing it out of its casings, and saute until no longer pink. Drain any fat, and remove from the pan.  Next saute the onion in some olive oil. Once it begins to soften, add in the bell pepper, cook for ~3 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes and saute until they start to break up. Add the sausage back in and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Mix in the kale and continue to cook just til it softens.

Once the spaghetti squash has cooled a bit, scrape out the strands with a fork into a bowl. Serve with the sausage mixture and top with parmesan cheese if you like.