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tomato pasta sauce {& spaghetti squash}

November 24, 2012

spaghetti squash

That’s not spaghetti. Well, not spaghetti in the pasta sense.

There exists, over on this side of the world, the strangest of vegetables fruit – the spaghetti squash. Foreign to us Kiwi’s, it’s a type of squash that is similar to what we call pumpkin when raw, but once cooked, the innards become long separate strands – much like spaghetti. It’s like magic. Thirty minutes roasting in the oven, a little bit of fork action and you get luxurious, glassy strings to toss through a tomato pasta sauce.

I wouldn’t use this in place of spaghetti in creamy dishes – it is no substitute for the pasta that Italian dishes call for. But in a light tossed tomato dish, its perfect. With its own sweetness and nutrition it can really complete an all vegetable dish.


Tomato Pasta Sauce
Makes 3 cups
Recipe found many years ago in a NZ Taste Magazine

Double, or even triple this recipe and freeze in 1 cup portions. Use in any dishes calling for pasta sauce, from bolognaise and nachos, to pizzas and salsa. With full control over the flavors in this sauce, and a taste of the freshness that comes with making from scratch, you’ll never need to buy a $5 jar of Dolmio (with their unnecessarily long ingredient list) again. If making solely for pasta dishes, I like to pack it out with vegetables. Throw in some diced carrots, capsicums, broccoli, mushrooms while frying the onion. When those lazy nights hit, simply defrost while boiling some pasta on the stove for an instant, nutritious freezer meal.

1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste (you can freeze the rest of the can of paste in ice-cube trays)
1 large (800g) can plain tomatoes (diced or whole)
salt and pepper
1 tsp sugar, optional
2 Tbsp dried herbs (any sort – parsley, oregano, basil) or 1/2 cup fresh, chopped

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened but not browned.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute (this ‘cooks off’ the paste, giving it a richer, more intense flavour).

Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, until thickened.

Stir through the salt and pepper, sugar and herbs, adjusting the seasoning as required.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2012 2:53 pm

    Crazy how much that actually looks like pasta! I’ve been wanting to try this for a while – spaghetti squash is now on my next grocery list!

    • November 24, 2012 4:09 pm

      You’re a Canadian and you have never had it!? Gee I thought it was super common! It looks, and feels relatively pasta like but tastes sweet, delicious. Got to drain off as much liquid though to avoid it being watery.

      • November 24, 2012 4:58 pm

        I’ve seen it, and very well may have eaten it at some point, but never intentionally as a pasta stand-in! I think you’re right tho, it is one of the more common squashes here, along with butternut and acorn.

  2. November 24, 2012 6:33 pm

    Hi Christina… yum! I came across Spaghetti Squash when I lived in Canada and used as a gluten-free alternative to pasta. I searched for it on my return to NZ at Farmers Markets but surprisingly no one grew it here. Luckily I managed to get some seeds from King Seeds and now grow them myself. Such a treat. Enjoy!

    • November 24, 2012 8:42 pm

      Brilliant – if you can’t find it, grow it. Love that Nicola. Thanks for commenting – will sure keep my eye on your blog to stay in touch with NZ, gardening, BBQs – all of which we dearly miss over here.

  3. November 24, 2012 9:14 pm

    Thanks Christina, and I am enjoying reading your blog to remind me of my time in Canada – my favourite place to live after NZ. Though I wasn’t up as North as you. I was in Nelson, BC, a beautiful area if you are travel south.

  4. November 25, 2012 11:10 pm

    I love your tip about freezing tomato paste-I’ve been feeling so guilty about the stuff out after a week!

    • November 26, 2012 7:17 am

      Handy huh! Pretty much every recipe we have that requires it only requires a TBSP so its perfect.

  5. November 28, 2012 7:49 pm

    I do look forward to being reunited with the spaghetti squash again… so weird they don’t have them in NZ!

  6. November 28, 2012 7:50 pm

    p.s: love the photo of the perfectly round mound of spaghetti squash covered in your delicious looking sauce!


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