spaghetti squash with sausage, tomatoes, and sage

I’ve always been curious about spaghetti squash and until this past weekend, I had never cooked with it. A variety of winter squash, it is oblong-shaped with a hard, pale yellow rind and stringy, orange-colored flesh that resembles translucent strands of pasta when cooked. Its texture is slightly crunchy, somewhat akin to al dente pasta. Its season starts in early fall and goes throughout winter. Spaghetti squash is low in calories and is a good source of fiber as well as nutrients like beta carotene, folic acid, Vitamin A, and potassium. It makes a low carb and tasty alternative to pasta or potatoes. Continue reading

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orecchiette with mushrooms, chard, and ricotta pan sauce

I’ve been in a pasta rut lately, but thanks to the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I rediscovered the technique of making a pan sauce to give my tired old pasta a new twist and a boost in flavor.  This pan sauce is full of bold color and taste , made with bacon, mushroom, chard, and ricotta. Orecchiette, the oval-shaped pasta from the southern Italian region of Puglia, is a good choice for this dish because its slight bowl shape is perfect for catching the cheesy sauce which has a slight hint of spice from crushed red pepper flakes and nutmeg.  The orecchiette’s edges are thicker than it’s center for some added texture. Continue reading