Does this sound weird? It tastes pretty good, honest. We have a number of spaghetti squash hanging about from the C.S.A. share, and while I enjoy them as a pasta substitute I definitely do not enjoy them topped with traditional marinara sauce, so I decided to do something that was sort of a pasta/squash combo that was a concession to the slightly squashy flavor. So, a walnut-saffron pesto. I am in the process of updating some of my posts with older, less-fabulous photos, and this post has been pretty popular so it was one of the first on my list. Here’s a batch from today:
And below is the older, original photo:
I certainly hope you can see an improvement.
The pesto is simple, and to prepare the squash you just split it in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when poked with a knife. Let the squash cool down enough to handle, then use a fork to separate the strands into a large bowl and toss with the pesto. Top with a little grated cheese, if you like. Update: I often microwave the whole squash if I am in a hurry. I poke a few holes in the squash to let steam escape, then microwave it on high for seven minutes, or until it is tender. Let it cool down before cutting it in half and removing the seeds.
Note that the original recipe did not include any water, but I found that adding a little water makes the pesto easier to distribute evenly on the “pasta” strands. If you want it thicker just omit the water. I have also started using avocado oil instead of olive oil because its milder taste lets the flavor of the saffron come through.
Spaghetti squash are abundant and delicious right now, so it is the perfect time to give this a try.
Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Saffron Pesto
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil, for a milder flavor)
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- juice of one lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
- generous pinch of saffron threads
- 1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped into strands with a fork
- Place all of the pesto ingredients in your blender or food processor and pulse until you have a chunky paste. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. If the pesto is too thick, add additional water or oil and blend again.
- Toss the pesto with warm spaghetti squash and serve. Top with grated Parmesan, if desired.