Today was one of those simple but dreamy Sunday’s spent with family, well right now my very small family which really is Alex myself and our little belly baby (Nova). But it felt like I was with my larger immediate family as I was preparing this not quite traditional Italian dish. The nostalgic smell of my mothers Cacciatore sauce lingered in the air 3,000 miles away from her kitchen, it truly made me feel my italian roots and family so much closer than ever before. I sit here mesmerized today by the way nostalgia feels, tastes, smells, and even looks.
Flashbacks of childhood appear right before me as I type this because I am sitting beside a bowl of butterscotch pudding that I just created for my cookbook. I’m instantly teleported to my family fridge barely tall enough to get the pudding off the shelf myself but somehow always managing to get the pudding to my lips. Butterscotch was one of my fondest childhood desert flavors and today it too brings me back to my mothers beloved kitchen and that much closer to my family.
It’s been too many years to mention since I’ve last seen my family, to be honest at times I feel ashamed that I let this much time pass before visiting them but at other times I feel petty thinking why don’t they just come visit me, after all I’ve lived in California for 10 years this coming October. I’m torn because my heart is here in California and rarely wants to travel back to Florida. Once Nova is born I imagine a reunion hopefully sooner than later. In the meantime no traveling by flight for me until Nova’s spaceship (aka my body) has landed him safely into my eager open arms. Luckily, I have food and technology to bring us together no matter how far apart we are geographically speaking.
Ironically the word Cacciatore means “hunter style” in Italian. Which is probably why my mother would always prepare this sauce with chicken, but in my modern Italian veggie loving home I am using a spaghetti squash (vitamin A, C, calcium, B-6 & magnesium). Alex helped out chopping the garlic and onion as he usually does but then also jumped in and began scraping the squash forming the spaghetti, he was amazed at how effortless it was to turn the squash into spaghetti and was pleased with the amount of fun he had doing so. For me it was nice to give up control in the kitchen and seeing him have so much fun while helping prepare this dish is definitely the secret ingredient to any family style meal.
I hope this recipe teleports all of your senses to a happy place full of fun & love!
If anyone out there is reading this, I’d love to know what foods trigger nostalgia for you?
- For the Squash
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons rosemary
- For the Sauce
- 1 can peeled tomatoes
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/3 yellow onion
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes (chopped)
- 1/4 cup (chopped) fresh basil
- 3 tabslepoons fresh oregano
- 1/4 green bell pepper (cubed)
- 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- For the squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds using a spoon. Coat each half with coconut oil, black pepper, sea salt, fresh garlic and rosemary.Cook face down on a tray lined with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce by using a heavy non-stick pan, coat the bottom of the pan with sea salt and coconut oil. Once pan is warmed up add the peeled tomatoes with juice. Next, add in garlic and onion. Stir and let simmer while chopping the tomatoes that are cooking in the pan into smaller quarters. Add in the herbs and seasoning as well as bell pepper and beefsteak tomatoes. Place lid on and let simmer 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
- Once squash is cooked fully rake the insides with a fork creating the spaghetti. Add the sauce on top of the spaghetti give it a good mix. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.