Thinking of my east coast friends surviving winter. My first year living without snow, yet I still choose to cook heavy, flavorful winter inspired foods. Here is a meaty spaghetti squash comfort food meal topped with kale pesto. Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Chicken Sauasage

Use raw spicy chicken or turkey sausage. If turmeric is hard to find substitute 3 Tbsp minced garlic. Buy a large spaghetti squash. See recipe for kale pest and serve with 2-3T. If you don’t have kale on hand use a bottled pesto, chutney of some variety or add the pine nuts and parsley as suggested in the recipe.

 warmingWinterSpaghetti

warmingWinterSpaghetti

1 medium to large spaghetti squash

1 # Italian (spicy) turkey or Italian sausage

1 large yellow onion

¼ cup minced turmeric

5-6 oz baby spinach cleaned

2 Tbsp avocado or olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp pine nuts

¼ cup chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Using a large knife and steady hand, split the squash in half lengthwise. The best way to do this is by scoring the squash and then inserting the tip of the blade into one end. Once the squash is split open, use a spoon to remove the seeds and pulp (toss that out). Place the halved squash cut-side down on a roasting pan with a few tablespoons of water . Roast for 35-40 minutes in a preheated oven.

Meanwhile, prepare the meaty portion of the dish. Dice large onion, mince turmeric or substitute garlic. Heat a large skillet to medium-high and drizzle a few tablespoons of avocado or extra virgin olive oil. Split the chicken or turkey sausage skins and peel off. Once it comes to temp, crumble in the chicken Italian sausage, turmeric (or garlic) and diced onion. Cook and stir until the sausage is fully cooked and the onion is translucent- about 12 minutes. A few minutes before the meat is done (and squash is done in next section) stir in the baby spinach, add salt and pepper and mix until the spinach is done. Set aside.

When the squash come out of the oven, turn the halves over so they cool a bit faster. Once you can handle them comfortably (or can manage them holding with an oven mitt), use a dinner fork to scrape with the grain of the squash to harvest the strands. Transfer the squash into the pan with the sausage mixture, and toss with the sausage and spinach mixture until everything is evenly combined.

Top with pine nuts and chopped parsley or Kale Pesto. Serve this plated inside the spaghetti squash shell.

Kale Pesto

I tend to make the kale pesto when I have some kale that I’ve forgotten to use. In those cases I make roasted kale chips or this really tasty kale pesto. I’m not a huge fan of parsley, so kale is my go to when I want pesto. Its great as a topping on steamed vegetables, with eggs, or just about any meat. Basically what I’m saying is it won't go bad because you will want to add it to all your main meals for the week.

3 C kale, chopped and tightly packed

¾ C walnut pieces (if starting with whole, chop them a bit)

2 T minced garlic or Turmeric

½ C grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmigiano-Regggiano cheese

1/3 cup avocado or olive oil

salt to taste

Have all items close by and set up food processor with a chopping blade. Start by adding all the kale, then other items in order.