Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese


This very simple Bolognese sauce begins with a batch of I Miss My Garden Sauce, incorporates three more ingredients, and Voila!  With minimal effort, you will have a fancy dish to impress your guests!  Like any decent Bolognese, this sauce requires several hours of simmer time, but don’t let that scare you away.  This recipe is really stone simple, you just have to be patient!  Bolognese is traditionally served with pasta, but here at Crowded Earth Kitchen we’re lightening things up a bit by using spaghetti squash as a base.  Either way, this sauce is delicious.  Have fun!

Ingredients (makes 10 cups of sauce plus two large squash halves)

2 pounds ground beef, 85% lean

8 cups of I Miss My Garden Sauce

2 cups cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine

2 cups chicken broth (preferred) or vegetable broth (vegan substitute)

Directions for Bolognese Sauce

Step 1) Brown ground beef by cooking and stirring over low-medium heat for 20 minutes.  Drain.

Step 2) Add I Miss My Garden Sauce to ground beef and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3) Add 1 cup of wine and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 4) Add 1 cup of broth and simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5) Repeat Step 3.

Step 6) Repeat Step 4.

You’re done now, if you’re happy with the consistency of your Bolognese.  If it’s too thick, add a bit more wine or broth (your choice – taste the sauce first).  If it’s too thin, simmer for a few more minutes.

picture477Directions for Spaghetti Squash

Step 1) Poke about a dozen holes in the spaghetti squash with a fork.

Step 2) Microwave the whole squash for about 8 minutes.  Let sit 5 minutes.

Step 3) Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.

Step 4) Pull tines of a fork “across the grain” to loosen the spaghetti squash threads.

Step 5) Serve Bolognese Sauce in squash halves, like a big bowl, or cut squash into individual serving sizes and smother with sauce.  Garnish with thinly sliced sundried tomatoes, if desired.


Garden Fresh Meatballs


Today we’re making a whole lot of delicious meatballs – plenty for dinner tonight AND plenty for your freezer.  I like to smother trays of these meatballs with I Miss My Garden Sauce, shown above, and freeze for a day when I’m too busy to cook (it happens).  Just thaw, heat, and serve!

I’ve experimented with ground beef of varying fat contents, and I find that 85% lean makes the best meatballs.  You can use leaner ground beef if you wish, but when I’ve used, say, 93% lean, I feel like I am paying more only to end up with dry meatballs.  Feel free to try different types of ground beef; the decision is entirely up to you.

picture467Ingredients (makes 60 meatballs)

4 pounds ground beef, 85% lean

1 slice whole wheat bread, ground up into fresh crumbs

2 eggs, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons dried oregano

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 of a green pepper

1/2 of a yellow onion

3 sundried tomatoes

2 cloves garlic


Step 1) In a small blender or food processor, puree green pepper, onion, sundried tomatoes and garlic.

Step 2) Combine all ingredients, including puree, in a large bowl.  Mix with clean hands until all ingredients are incorporated into the ground beef.

picture470Step 3) Pinch off golf ball size pieces of ground beef mixture and roll into balls.  Place one inch apart on shallow baking pans (you’ll need at least two).  Cover with foil and chill for 30 minutes.

Step 4) After meatballs chill, you can finish them one of two ways:

Option 1, you can place a dozen or so in a picture472frying pan at a time, and cook them on the stovetop for approximately 10 minutes over low-medium heat.  You will need to shake the pan handle often to roll the meatballs around and prevent sticking.  This method makes nice, round, “company suitable” meatballs.  The disadvantage is that you need to work in small batches, which will take a while.

Option 2, you can bake your meatballs all at once in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  This method is faster and tastes exactly the same, but sometimes the bottoms of the meatballs have a slight, flat surface.  It’s up to you.  Either way, enjoy your dinner!

Looking for something a little fancier than meatballs?  OK.  Next time on Crowded Earth Kitchen, we’ll make Bolognese Sauce!