I originally saw this recipe as a guest post from Cara’s Cravings on Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies, but it was when I saw Danica’s Daily make it that I just knew I would have to try it. I am always more apt to make a recipe when I’ve seen it a couple times in the blogosphere, especially when one of the bloggers who made it happens to be one of my favorite bloggers. (Did I mention that I met Danica last week while she was in town for a conference? You can find a picture of us and my friend Amy of Round is a Shape here.)
It was actually pretty soon after her post, way back in December, that I tried making this dish for the first time. And it was delicious. Seriously yummy. BUT it was a huge mess. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but mine did not set up and was just a bit of a slop. However, since it tasted so good, I decided to try it again. While it might look mostly set in the picture, I can assure you it was not. So for the second time this recipe was tasty but soupy, and for that reason alone, it’s not one I will make again. I just can’t get over the texture or the big mess it makes as it “settles” after removing the springform pan.
But since I seem to be the only one having this problem, I am going to pass it along to you. I made a meatless version, using a combination of mushrooms, zucchini, and seasonings in place of the sausage, and I think that was a fantastic compromise for those who typically love meat. With the right herbs and spices, I didn’t miss the sausage at all. I also thought the spaghetti squash made a great pasta substitute in this dish, and had it not been so labor-intensive for such unreliable results, I would make it again no question.
Spaghetti Squash Torta
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
6 ounces baby spinach
1 large egg
15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
2 cups marinara sauce
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
To roast the squash, preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce the squash all over with a sharp knife and place in a baking dish with about 1″ of water. Cook for one hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then use two forks to remove the stringy flesh.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
In a large skillet coated with 2 teaspoons oil, cook the onions over medium-low heat for about 10 minute, until softened. Add the mushrooms and zucchini, and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until they release their moisture. Add the garlic, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and remaining spices. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat a bit, and cook for another minute, until garlic is fragrant. Finally, add the spinach, a few handfuls at a time, stirring until wilted. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, mix together the cooked spaghetti squash, egg, ricotta cheese, half of the Asiago cheese, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
Lightly coat an 8″or 9″ spring-form pan with cooking spray. Place half of the spaghetti squash mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the vegetable mixture and half of the sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the sauce.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until top is browned.
Let stand for 10 minutes, then un-mold and slice.
Makes 6 servings
Modified from Cara’s Cravings, as featured on Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies