Growing up, spaghetti with ground beef was a pretty standard meal for us. I remember eating it almost weekly. It was easy, quick and affordable and we all liked it. In those days we used jars of Prego or Ragu, ground beef and whole-wheat noodles.
In this recreation of a childhood favorite, there are no jars of pre-made sauce and no wheat. Spaghetti squash replaces the traditional wheat noodles and a homemade Bolognese replaces the quick pre-made jars of sauce.
This Bolognese, a sweet and spicy twist on the classic, is made with wine soaked raisins and peppadews. I know it may sound strange, but trust me. The raisins add natural sweetness to the sauce so there is no need to add refined sugar. The peppadews assist similarly, but also add a touch of spice. Along with some additional chili flakes, it is the prefect balance of sweet and spicy.
Making homemade Bolognese sauce does not have to be difficult. While this spaghetti may not be a less than 30-minute meal, it certainly isn’t difficult nor does it take multiple hours. I would say 45-50 minutes is about all you need. The spaghetti squash takes about 40 minutes to bake. The sauce will really only take about 20 minutes to get the ingredients in the pan, but the longer you cook it down the better. We like nice thick sauce, so I like to let it simmer for at least 20 minutes. In my opinion, the extra time for the sauce is totally worth it. Plus it makes a pretty large batch so any leftovers can be frozen or used for lunches or another meal later in the week. Personally, I love this dish as leftovers for lunch.
So if you’ve got a little extra time and are looking for an alternative to premade sauces. This Bolognese will do the trick!
Spaghetti Squash Bolognese
- 1 large Spaghetti squash
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1/2 cup golden raisins you can use regular but the golden have a milder flavor
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 can no salt added tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup peppadews sliced
- 3/4 tsp chili flakes or to taste
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup fresh minced basil plus more for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup red wine, set aside.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick silicone baking mat
- Using a very sharp knife cut spaghetti squash in half the long way, scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Place on prepared baking sheet cut side up (this is very important because if you place it cut side down it will trap moisture and you will end up with soft watery squash) Drizzle with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. Use hands to coat evenly.
- Place into the oven on the middle rack and set a timer for 40 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking prepare the sauce but note when the squash is done use two forks to shred the squash away from the skin. Place the squash into a strainer for at least 5 minutes before serving. This will help to release any excess moisture so you don’t have watery “noodles”.
- Peel and finely mince 6 cloves of garlic, dice 1/2 of a yellow onion and add to a deep fry pan or a pot with a drizzle of olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pot or pan).
- Dice the two large tomatoes and set aside.
- The peppadews will likely come as whole so you will want to sliced them up and measure out 1/2 cup. Then set aside.
- Mince the fresh basil and set aside as well.
- Bring the pan with the onions and garlic to medium heat and sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant but not burning.
- Add the ground meat and sauté until meat is mostly cooked through.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté for another 5-6 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to soften and release its juices.
- Add the wine soaked raisins (including all of the wine), the tomato sauce, the peppadews, chili flakes, basil and oregano
- Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. In the last 5 minutes, give it a try and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over spaghetti squash noodles garnish with additional fresh basil and serve immediately!