Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, it’s a fun dish to serve. Yes, it’s squash. No, it’s not really pasta, but it plates up to look very similar to spaghetti strands. Versatility is the name of the spaghetti-squash game, because whatever topping you’d add to traditional pasta, you can add to spaghetti squash, too.

Spaghetti Squash Pasta

I’ve been preparing (i.e., cleaning the house) for a cousin from Italy to arrive for a week. Very exciting! Leading up to the visit, I wanted to keep our meals as easy as possible (i.e., keep the messes to a minimum so all my cleaning isn’t in vain). When I came across an organic spaghetti squash at the grocery store recently, I thought I could use the basil from our garden to make a pesto sauce for it. I imagined Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes would be a great meal. I wasn’t disappointed.

Spaghetti Squash "Pasta" with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

I also saw some irony making this particular “pasta” prior to hosting an Italian visitor. Mangia!

Recipe for: Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 2-3

 

PT30M PT30M

Ingredients

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed (more or less to taste)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, to taste
  • Juice and zest from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Pierce the squash all over with a sharp knife. Cook it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften it. Carefully remove it from the microwave and allow it to cool slightly.
  3. Use a very sharp, large kitchen knife to cut it in half, vertically. Scoop out the seeds and discard them (or clean them and toast them for a snack).
  4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the cut side of the squash. Rub it over the smooth portion of the squash, and into the well of the squash, too.
  5. Put the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet and cook for 40-50 minutes.
  6. As the squash is cooking, prepare your pesto.
  7. Add the basil leaves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse until the pesto begins to come together. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  8. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the mixture and pulse again until it is well blended (the pesto won’t be completely smooth). Set the pesto aside.
  9. When the squash has finished cooking, remove it and allow it to cool to the touch.
  10. Add the tomatoes to a shallow pan and drizzle them with olive oil. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until they begin to blister and open. Remove them from the oven and keep them warm.
  11. When the squash is cool to the touch, stand each half up vertically, and use a fork to scrape the insides in a downward motion. The flesh will fall out like strands of spaghetti. You may need to warm the “pasta” in the microwave on a platter for a few minutes prior to serving.
  12. Serve on individual plates, topped with the pesto and roasted tomatoes.
 
Serves 2-3

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