Dinner Full of Faux Pas

I’ve had Italian on my mind all week thanks to Anthony Bourdain. One of Bourdain’s biggest rants Sunday night was about Italian food. Takeaway points? (1) Olive Garden is a lie. Italian’s don’t suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity like we do because they don’t eat those weird concoctions at that restaurant. We knew this. (2)Traditional Italian cooking is actually all about simplicity and freshness. The fewer ingredients, the better. And, if you can pull them from your garden 2 seconds before they hit the pan, you’re on the right track. (3) Little-known fact: meat does not go in the sauce. Serve “spaghetti and meatballs” to an Italian? You’re going to get laughed at.

So how many Italian faux pas did I make during dinner tonight? Seven. Introducing: Spaghetti Squash “Pomodoro.”

faux italian.

it's not even PASTA.

A traditional pomodoro sauce consists of: crushed tomatoes [not a can of sauce], fresh basil, fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Any additions or omissions would materially alter the basic and novel characteristics of the sauce. Then, it’s not a pomodoro anymore. Suffice it to say, I blew this one, which is why it’s called “pomodoro.” I’d probably make Bourdain puke.

Here’s the itemized list of my broken rules:

  • I put meat directly into the sauce.
  • Oh yeah, it was soy meat. I’m sure that’s even worse.
  • And then, I even added onion. Hey, it was leftover from yesterday. Had no choice.
  • Garlic bread, what? It was a sandwich round.
  • Plus, that sandwich round had vegan butter on it.
  • No pasta was consumed with this pomodoro, it was spaghetti squash instead. 2-cups of spaghetti squash runs you around 80 calories. 2-cups of cooked pasta? Almost 500. Worthy trade-off to me.
  • Garnish? Vegan parmesan. Oops.

I managed to get a few things right, though:

  • Crushed tomatoes, not a can of sauce [from a jar of canned tomatoes Shaun’s mom gave us a few weeks ago].
  • Fresh basil and garlic. I’m sure you could smell it down the street.
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper.

I think I got the basics. It’s one of the better and more simple meals I’ve put together recently. In fact, it’s probably going to get made again, soon. We’ll chalk the faux pas up to my desire to create new traditions.

Spaghetti Squash and Faux Pomodoro Sauce (Vegan, Vegetarian)

Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including the spaghetti squash)

Serves: 2


  • 4 cups of spaghetti squash, baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes and shredded with a fork
  • 1 medium can of tomatoes
  • 5 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
  • 2 servings of soy meat crumbles
  • 2 slices of sandwich rounds
  • Vegan parmesan cheese
  • Earth balance
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil


1. Preheat the oven to 375. Using a paper towl, wipe the sandwich rounds with the thinnest layer of earth balance imaginable. Sprinkle the minced garlic, salt and pepper over the rounds. Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

2. In a saute pan, cook the oil, garlic and onion until soft (5 minutes). Stir in the basil.

3. After getting rid of some of the liquid, pour the can of tomatoes into the pan and mash with a potato masher until the tomatoes break apart. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid starts to cook down.

4. Mix in salt, pepper, and soy crumbles, continue to cook for five minutes.

5. Meanwhile, assemble 2-cups of cooked spaghetti squash on a plate, garnish with salt and pepper.

6. Spoon the sauce over the “pasta,” garnish with basil and “parmesan,” serve with a slice of garlic round.



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Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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3 Comments on “Dinner Full of Faux Pas”

  1. November 4, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    My wife and I (more so myself I guess) are trying to eat more of a vegetarian or vegan diet, and it is really cool to see someone blogging about vegan/vegetarian recipes. I’m gonna have to try to make some of this stuff

    • November 4, 2011 at 7:28 am #

      I hope you like it! My entire blog is vegetarian/vegan. Check out the recipes page for some ideas! Thanks for reading, too 🙂 Let me know how the project goes.

  2. November 4, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Even if Bourdain piles, it still sounds good to me.

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