I love fall, even though it means the end of summer (which I love even more). I love the cool fall breezes, watching the leaves change color, and all of the fun fall holidays.
Perhaps even more than all of that, I love fall FOOD! Pumpkins, Halloween candy, apple cider, you name it - I love it.
Included in that list of fall favorites would be squash. Spaghetti squash, to be exact. My first experience was three years ago when I lived in Miami right after college. I did a year-long volunteer program through my church denomination and lived with four other young women. We took turns cooking dinner for the house once a week, and one of my housemates made spaghetti squash for dinner that particular week. All I could think was, "this is so cool! It's squash and it tastes like spaghetti!" I was hooked.
Fast forward to last week. I work part time at a coffee shop and there is a Trader Joe's two doors down. Imagine my delight going into work one day and I see all the fall pumpkins, gourds, and squash sitting outside in the bins waiting to come home with me. I giddily picked up a spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and butternut squash to take home with me.
I had also been wanting to make homemade pesto AND use our new Cuisinart that we got for a wedding present (yes, I am a nerd about having awesome kitchen tools). We have a basil plant so I got right to work plucking off the leaves for the pesto. Alas...there were not enough to make an entire recipe, so I figured baby spinach would do the trick for the rest. It worked A-OK.
*Tangent disclaimer: I want to apologize for the poor lighting in my photos. Our apartment has terrible natural lighting, especially in the kitchen, so it does not make for good food photography :( Boo.
So heeere we go! Get your squash ready. Poke several holes in it and microwave for about 15 minutes or until the flesh starts to "give". Make sure you turn it over occasionally so all the sides cook evenly (I forgot to do that). I love that you can microwave the squash!
The squash has a canola oil stalker in the background. Watch out.
While your squash is a-cookin', gather your pesto ingredients.
Add 'em to your food processor...
...and whirl away...
...until you have this glorious green deliciousness :)
When your squash is cooked, take it out of the microwave. Cut it in half using a sharp knife, and scoop out the seeds. This will take a while so be patient.
Use a fork to pull the flesh away from the skin. It will pull into little pieces just like spaghetti! How cool is that?
Mix with your pesto and top with more salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Yummm.
And since you're not having "real" pasta, don't forget the bread :) I love olive bread!
Spinach and Almond Pesto - adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, Bridal Edition
Makes 3/4 cup
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
- 1 1/2 cups packed fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup whole almonds
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered (I used the equivalent of minced garlic from the jar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- In a food processor or blender, combine all your ingredients except the pepper.
- Cover and process/blend until smooth, stopping and scraping the sides as necessary.
- Add enough of 2 tbsp. EVOO to reach your desired consistency.
- Add black pepper to taste.
- Combine as much as you wish with your cooked spaghetti squash. Top with more salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. This is also great on fish, paninis, as a dip, etc. Enjoy!