After spending a week eating my way through Mexico, I am pleased and slightly horrified to report that my cells are now 78 percent tortilla.
When I overdo it in other countries, particularly ones where I am afraid to eat any raw produce, it usually means a straight diet of my one true love, carbs.
In Mexico City and Guadalajara, the fresh tortillas were a gluten-free dream. I ate them stuffed with miscellaneous meat from street vendors, crisped up and slathered in salsa verde chilaquiles-style at the best hipster cafe, and I used them as a vehicle for the best aguachile salmon ceviche, which it turns out, may have been as questionable a choice as the raw produce for my digestion.
I don’t usually come back to 50 degree fall weather craving salads, but this week is the exception. Or, rather, what I crave is simply vegetables.
This spaghetti squash spaghetti recipe came to the rescue at just the right time. It’s a paleo-style pasta dish that uses shredded baked spaghetti squash as the base. It’s topped with an Italian version of salsa verde that’s packed with parsley, capers and white wine vinegar. And the bright herbs and acid is the perfect complement to bitter broccoli rabe and spicy Italian sausage.
If you can’t find broccoli rabe or don’t like the bitterness, broccolini or regular broccoli makes for a great substitute. I should also mention that if you are not taking a break from the carb train or don’t like spaghetti squash spaghetti, any regular pasta will work too.
Luckily, in addition to some gut critters, I also came home with a ton of inspiration for future recipes. When my stomach is back to normal and I’ve recovered from tortilla fatigue, you can bet your buns that I’ll be sharing some delicious newly inspired Mexican cuisine straight from the motherland.
In the meantime, enjoy this Italian-themed paleo pasta from the other motherland!
With health and hedonism,
Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli Rabe, Chicken Sausage and Salsa Verde
If you're looking for a veggie noodle recipe this baked spaghetti squash spaghetti couldn't be easier. It's topped with an herby Italian salsa verde, which perfectly compliments the smokey sausage and bitter broccoli rabe. You can use broccoli if you can't find rabe, or ever regular broccoli cut into tiny florets.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using the largest chef’s knife you have, cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. It’s helpful to put a crumpled dish towel on your cutting board to stabilize it, or to remove a little bit from both ends so you can stand the squash upright without it wobbling. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits from the center cavity.
Arrange both cleaned squash halves cut-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan (this will help steam and soften the squash). Bake in the oven until the squash is tender, meaning a fork can easily be inserted from flesh to skin, about 45 minutes. Flip the halves over to allow them to cool. When safe to touch, use a fork to shred the spaghetti strands from the squash: begin along the edges, pulling the strands towards the center, then scoop the bundle into a bowl.
While the squash is roasting, cook the sausage: in a large wok or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the sausage and brown, breaking it apart with your spatula into bite sized pieces, until golden brown and cooked through. Fold in the broccoli and season lightly with sea salt. Sauté for 5 minutes more, or until the broccoli is tender but still al dente. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes more, until slightly soft. Remove from the heat.
Make the sauce: In a blender or food processor combine the parsley, basil, capers, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and a dash of red pepper flakes. Puree until coarsely combined (a little chunky is ok!). Add more olive oil if necessary to loosen the mixture.
Assemble the dish: Add the squash to the pan with the sausage mixture and season generously with salt. Drizzle with half of the sauce and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or red pepper flakes as necessary. Serve immediately alongside the remaining sauce.
If cherry tomatoes aren’t in season, sub 1/3 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes.