Paleo Summer Squash “Spaghetti” with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
Why This Recipe Works
Since pasta and canned tomatoes are not part of the paleo diet, we set out to develop an alternative to satisfy our craving for spaghetti with tomato sauce. Our first goal was to develop an aromatic, deeply flavorful sauce. We decided to use cherry tomatoes as our base, since they are available year round and are of more reliable quality than their larger cousins. We halved and roasted them, which drove off extra moisture and intensified their natural sweetness. Tossing the fresh tomatoes with a bit of tomato paste before roasting encouraged caramelization and gave the sauce a deeper, more rounded tomato flavor. Thinly sliced shallot, minced garlic, fresh oregano, and red pepper flakes, roasted with the tomatoes, provided an aromatic backbone for our sauce. Next, we focused on determining the right “pasta” to pair with this dish. Spaghetti squash seemed like a natural choice, but tasters weren’t impressed: No matter how long we cooked the squash, the strands had a raw, almost crunchy quality that didn’t resemble real spaghetti. Although zucchini worked fairly well, tasters ultimately preferred spiralized yellow summer squash; it had a soft texture and a pleasant chew similar to pasta, and its neutral flavor allowed our sauce to be the star. Roasting the spiralized squash and then transferring it to a colander allowed us to get rid of any excess moisture so our tomato sauce didn’t become watered down. Shredded basil sprinkled on top before serving added some brightness and peppery notes.