My daughters looked anxiously from the baking sheet with two roasted halves of an acorn squash back to catch my gaze. They asked me what was for dinner, to which I replied, rice noodles with puttanesca sauce (a little lie via omission of the word squash, I suppose). My youngest let out a sigh of relief and exclaimed, “oh thank goodness we’re not having THAT for dinner!!”. I smiled to myself… yes, thank goodness! And then I promptly pureed the squash and tossed it into the saucepan with the rest of the squash puttanesca sauce while they weren’t looking 🙂
I love using veggies in ways that they can be easily incorporated into a dish without suspicious veggie haters knowing. Even more awesome, is when the kids really, truly enjoy the creation and have seconds, or even thirds. Then, I usually tell them what’s in it. I’m all about full disclosure after they’ve eaten it. Little by little, they’ve adjusted their way of thinking to even like my sneaky veggie additions and they’ve come to think that this is just how these recipes are always made.
Squash puttanesca is just like regular old puttanesca sauce using tomatoes, capers, and olives but of course, I add the pureed squash to the mix. Doing so makes the sauce a little creamier, more nutritious and less acidic. The flavors blend so well you’d never guess there was squash in the mix. Look at that tasty forkful!
- 1 pound Italian sausage, browned
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 cup green olives or kalamata, chopped
- ¼ cup olive brine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 anchovy filets, finely chopped (optional)
- ½-1 teaspoon salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice acorn squash in half, discard seeds, and place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until flesh is soft and easily scoopable.
- While squash is roasting, brown sausage.
- When squash is soft, scoop it out, place in medium saucepan and puree. I used a stick blender to do this and it worked great.
- Combine all remaining ingredients with the squash and cook until hot and bubbly.
- Serve over your favorite noodles.