Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

I love pesto, especially homemade pesto! But it's awfully high in calories and fat (even though it's the good kind of fat), so as I'm watching my calorie intake, I decided to have my pesto and eat it, too, with spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash is a lovely gourd that has lovely strands of veg that you scrape out with a fork (once cooked), and they look like spaghetti noodles. I'm not going to tell you they taste like pasta (they don't), but they taste good, with a nice bite and a little crunch. Importantly, it can hold up to a sauce, like pesto, and maintain it's shape and texture.

I've normally cooked spaghetti squash in the oven, but I didn't want to turn the oven on during the warmest part of our day, so I cooked it in the crockpot. It was so easy that I will never cook it any other way.

I made my pesto with fresh basil from my basil plant, walnuts (I was out of the traditional pine nut), garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil. YUM! **Note that this pesto recipe makes enough pesto for two spaghetti squash, or one squash and then one other pasta dish. Jar up the remaining pesto and place in the fridge where it will keep for a couple of days.**

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto

1 spaghetti squash

For the pesto:
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Find a crockpot large enough to hold your spaghetti squash. Puncture your spaghetti squash with a fork several places over the body of the squash. Place in crockpot with 2 cups of water. Turn on low for 8 hours.

2. When it is ready, remove from the crockpot, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then using a fork, scrape all the flesh into a bowl.

3. To make the pesto, place the basil and garlic into a food processor bowl. Process until smooth. While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Then add the cheese and nuts. Process until all the ingredients are combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Mix about 1/2 of the pesto with the warm spaghetti squash until combined. Top with Parmesan cheese and some fresh basil. Enjoy!

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