Baked Spaghetti Squash Italiano
1 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 chubby cloves garlic, minced
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning blend
1 (3- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground pork. As it cooks, stir the meat so that it crumbles. With a slotted spoon, transfer browned ground pork to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
Save enough of the drippings in the pan to equal about 2 tablespoons. If there is not enough of the drippings, add a little olive oil. Sauté chopped onion and green pepper in reserved drippings until tender. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in pork, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, black pepper and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly at room temperature.
At this point, sauce can be refrigerated in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days. It also can be put into the freezer in an airtight container and stored for up to a month.
On the day you will be serving the dish, thaw sauce in the refrigerator, if frozen. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash squash and place in a foil-lined shallow baking dish. Pierce through skin of squash with a fork several times. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour or until squash yields to pressure. Let cool slightly so that it is easier to handle.
Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Using a fork, gently scrape out spaghetti-like strands of flesh from squash. Place half of squash in bottom of a lightly oiled 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish. Pour half of sauce over squash. Repeat layers. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and spread cheese evenly over top. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Makes 6 to 8 servings.