Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes
There is something truly magical about the combination of fresh vegetables, fragrant pesto, and the unique texture of spaghetti squash. This dish reminds me of a summer trip to Italy, where I had the pleasure of tasting the most delicious spaghetti squash prepared by a local chef.
Legend has it that the recipe originated during a bountiful summer in the late 1800s when an Italian farmer discovered a peculiar type of squash in his garden. The farmer decided to harvest it and prepare a meal for his family. Little did he know that this simple act would lead to the creation of a timeless dish that would captivate taste buds for generations to come.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the Squash: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rub the inside of the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the halves facedown on a baking sheet. Roast for about 45 minutes or until the squash pulls apart easily with a fork. Once cooked, use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands of squash and set them aside.
- Make the Pesto: While the squash is roasting, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, combine the fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing the mixture until a smooth sauce forms. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Combine and Garnish: In a large sauté pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and sauté until they begin to soften and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked spaghetti squash to the pan and toss gently to coat it with the tomatoes and their juices. Remove from heat, and stir in the pesto, ensuring the squash is evenly coated.
- Serve and Enjoy: Transfer the spaghetti squash to serving plates or bowls and garnish with some extra grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve warm and savor every bite of this delightful and healthy dish.
Tips and Variations:
- For a vegan option, substitute the Parmesan cheese in the pesto with nutritional yeast or skip it altogether.
- Add grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a heartier meal.
- Feel free to experiment with the pesto recipe by adding other herbs like mint or parsley for a twist on the traditional flavor.
- If you prefer a lighter version, you can toss the spaghetti squash and pesto with some baby spinach or arugula.
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