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Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato Basil Walnut Pesto

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Sometimes I burn things.  Okay, what you read may have sounded somewhat creepy.  Let me clarify.  To be more specific, sometimes I unintentionally burn the food I’m cooking.  I may leave something on the stove and forget to check it, only to come back later and find said food “cooked” to an inedible crisp.  Or, I may overestimate how long something is suppose to bake, and cook it until its at a point where even my best guy friends won’t touch it.  It’s somewhat frustrating, but comes with the territory, at least in my world.  When I cook something, I look forward to sampling the different food combinations that make up a recipe.  When that meal happens to burn (sometimes a fiery flame of death), my heart hurts, and my soul gets crushed just a little.

On the other hand, I have somewhat of an unlikely love of “burnt” Brussels Sprouts and broccoli.  My favorite part when roasting these vegetables is the little extra crispy bites.  I don’t burn them until they are completely unrecognizable, but the vegetables are usually a lot more crispy then most people prefer.  Therefore, I usually only crisp them up in the comfort of my own home, in a meal that won’t be shared with others (mainly, because I don’t want to share 😉 ).

Why this long talk about burning food?  Well, it gives a little background for last week’s fiasco.  I invited my friend Olivia over for grilled steaks, Brussels Sprouts roasted with chopped bacon, and mashed sweet potatoes.  Olivia asked that her steak be cooked well-done (horrible, I know), which request I fully intended to comply with.  What I failed to realize is that by warming up the grill as the sun was setting, I wouldn’t actually be grilling the steaks until it was night time.  This wouldn’t be a problem, except that I have poor lighting in my backyard.  I wasn’t able to visually check the steaks because of the bad lighting, and they cooked longer than necessary, well past the point of preference for either one of us.

Olivia asked for a well-done steak, but I ended up cooking her steak so long that she couldn’t eat most of it because it was too tough.  It’s a good think she enjoyed the vegetables, because that ended up being the majority of her dinner for the night.

Thankfully, this recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomato Basil Walnut Pesto came out great, and no food was harmed in the making of this meal.

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I made chicken to go along with the spaghetti squash using my chicken marinade recipe, and these meal was made to rave reviews.

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Try it out, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Spaghetti Squash With Sun-dried Tomato Basil Walnut Pesto

Servings: serves 5-6


Ingredients:

  • 1 large Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese*
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Chop spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.  Quick tip, to make the spaghetti squash easier to cut, microwave for 1-2 minutes.  This makes the shell a little softer, so that you don’t have to hammer away at it like your hacking down a tree.
  4. Place the spaghetti squash cut side down, and bake in the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes.
  5. Once cooked, take the spaghetti squash out of the oven, flip the halves over and let cool.
  6. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S blade, place the basil, sun-dried tomato, manchego cheese, walnuts, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.
  7. Turn the food processor on, and pulse 5 or 6 times, for 2-3 seconds each time.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  8. Then turn the food processor on, and while the food processor is running, slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil and continue running the food processor until the pesto ingredients have fully combined.
  9. Once the spaghetti squash has cooled enough to handle, use a fork to scrap the squash noodles into a large bowl.
  10. Pour the pesto over the spaghetti squash noodles, and stir the  pesto with the squash noodles until fully incorporated.
  11. Plate and enjoy!

 

Notes:

  • You can sub shredded Parmesan cheese for manchego cheese if this type of cheese is difficult to locate, or omit the cheese entirely to make the recipe dairy free and Whole30 friendly.

 

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