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To honor the release of “Still Tomato” into the public market, I thought I would share a great tomato recipe I made the night that I originally painted this tomato…in fact the tomato pictured in the fine acrylic painting ended up going into a sauce after its job as a model was complete. Keep reading for the full recipe and a closeup detail image of Still Tomato.
So this recipe came about because we finally tried pre-baking a spaghetti squash. It worked out well, so I decided to make spaghetti and “red” sauce with it. It was so healthy and delicious that I got to put cheese on it and eat garlic toast and still feel pretty good about it. The red sauce consisted of Roma tomatoes, spinach, fresh garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, salt, dried oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, a tiny bit of white sugar and water. The sugar does cut the healthy factor down, I know, but a tablespoon dissolved into 4 plus servings is still pretty good. It seems to help the flavors marry with the tomato as it cooks down, but you don’t taste it at the end. It wasn’t a sweet sauce, still very savory, and not the red color you’d expect, but a interesting brown. The toddler loved this. A (more) complete recipe is below. Use it with caution, I am not an exact chef. Season to taste always, we are a garlic heavy family so adjust accordingly if that’s not your preference.
“Spaghetti” (squash) and Sauce
4 ripe roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 handfuls baby spinach
fresh basil (about a dozen small leaves, or 4-5 large leaves), minced or crushed
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup hot water
insides of one baked spaghetti squash
Shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
Heat large skillet to medium high. Once pan is hot, drizzle with olive oil. Add tomatoes and garlic and stir. Add salt, pepper, dried oregano, stir. Allow to saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a measuring cup, dissolve sugar into hot water. Add to pan. Keep heat high, stir in spinach. Stir until mixed evenly, allow to simmer. Continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until tomatoes and spinach are soft and liquid is beginning to thicken. Allow it to cook down to half the water content, liquid around tomatoes should show a sheen and be translucent. Remove pan from heat and pour tomato mixture into blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, return to pan, turn heat to low, simmer 3 minutes or until it reaches your desired sauce consistency. Add spaghetti squash and stir until coated evenly. Add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella and cover until melted. Serve with grated Parmesan and garlic bread. Makes 4-6 servings.