Two Acre Farm & Spaghetti Squash Marinara

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If you haven’t stopped by the Two Acre Farm stand at the Bethesda Central Farm Market, you are really missing out. Absolutely everything that Nicole Olson is sampling – jams, mustards, dressings and sauces – is made with homegrown ingredients right in her very own little farm kitchen- and it’s all absolutely delicious!

FOO farmersTwoAcres.jpgNicole’s grandmother canned all her life and taught her how to start canning herself. Nicole doesn’t use recipes, but just flies by the seat of her pants, creating culinary masterpieces from scratch. Two Acre Farm is located in Keymar, MD and Nicole lives there with her husband and two sons (who come to the market with her frequently). She and her husband bought the overgrown farm 13 years ago. After a lot of time spent weeding and planting, the farm (situated on two acres of land) became a glorious, intermingling blend of herbs, veggies and fruits.

Nicole calls herself an “Artisan Agriculturalist.” She makes handcrafted products depending on her mood and what’s in season. She doesn’t waste a thing, either. Rather than let something rot, she will dehydrate, can, emulsify or blend it into something all natural, healthy and unique.

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Nicole’s Roasted Garlic Marinara is made almost entirely from products grown in her garden. The Big Beef Tomatoes she uses in her sauce have the seeds left in them to add to the nutritional value. The fresh, whole slices of garlic, layered throughout, distinguish her sauce from others. She dries oregano, basil, and parsley in her little farmhouse kitchen during the season. Her sauces are fresh and one-of-a-kind, clearly made with love and artistic expression.

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Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash best known for the spaghetti-like strands it’s flesh produces after being cooked. With healthy eating on everyone’s mind, spaghetti squash has become a very popular alternative to traditional pasta dishes. The flesh itself has very little distinguishable taste, allowing it to be a healthy, low-glycemic substitute for pasta. Spaghetti squash is low calorie, low-carb, low-sodium, and full of all the essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. This makes it an excellent option for anyone on any kind of diet. The spaghetti squash Nicole sells at her stand comes directly from Glade Link Farms in Ladiesburg, MD.

I ran a few taste tests before deciding to use Stonyman’s Farmhouse Muenster as the cheese for the spaghetti squash recipe below. To me, it combines best with the garlic and basil, allowing the flavors to come through. The cheese is a semi-hard, rindless cheese, made from raw cow’s milk and aged 6 months. It is ideal for cooking as it’s flavor can stand up to other strong ingredients. It also just happens to be delicious on it’s own, like all of the other amazing cheeses found at the Stonyman Gourmet Farmers tent!

And now it’s time to put everything together. As always, I’ve put where I purchased all of my ingredients in parentheses, and these are subject to change depending on availability. I’ve also included a meat option for anyone that would like to add a little more protein and extra flavor to the meal.

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Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (Two Acre Farm)
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (All Things Olive)
  • 2 cups Roasted Garlic Marinara (Two Acre Farm)
  • 4 large basil leaves, chopped (Twin Springs Fruit Farm)
  • 1 large handful of spinach, chopped (Two Acre Farm
  • ¼ lb Farmhouse Muenster Cheese, grated (Stonyman Gourmet Farmers)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

  • Chicken Basil Sausages* (Meatcrafters)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a large knife or a cleaver, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise down the middle. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and center strings. Drizzle the two halves with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the squash, open side down, on a cookie sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and check to make sure the squash is soft and the “spaghetti” easily comes off with a fork. If it’s too hard to remove, return it to the oven for another 10 minutes.

When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool until you are able to remove the “spaghetti.” Use a fork to loosen it and a pair of tongs to remove it. Make sure to leave the outer shell of the squash intact, as you will need it later in the recipe.**

Turn the oven to broil and place the “spaghetti” in a large pan over the stove. Add 2 cups of the marinara sauce, the spinach, and the basil to the stove. Cook on high heat only until the spinach has started to wilt. Place the marinara mixture back into the squash shell, top with the grated Muenster cheese, and place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

*For a great meat addition, use Meatcrafters’ Chicken Basil Sausages. Simply cook sausages, cut into pieces, and add to the marinara mixture before replacing it in the squash shells.

** Depending on the size of the squash, you might not need to use all of the “spaghetti.” Use your judgment, keeping in mind that more space will be taken up with the addition of the sauce, spinach, and basil once you return the ingredients to the outer shell. Put any leftover “spaghetti” into an airtight container to experiment with some other spaghetti squash recipes!

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