Hye Thyme Cafe: Broccoli Pesto and Tomato Baked Spaghetti Squash

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Broccoli Pesto and Tomato Baked Spaghetti Squash

Broccoli-Pesto and Tomato Baked Spaghetti Squash : Hye Thyme Cafe

If you've been following along here for a while, you've probably caught on to the fact that I tend to work backwards - meaning I never know what I'll be in the mood to cook/eat, so when I go shopping, I pick up whatever looks interesting to me at the time, without a clear use in mind, rather than knowing what I want to make and buying those ingredients. That said, I was left with a spaghetti squash and some broccoli that needed to be used up. I had been trimming off bits of broccoli and throwing them in salads for a few days, but I hadn't actually come up with a use for the whole head yet.

Fearing that if I kept putting off using those items, they would go to waste, I thought about how they could be used together. So what's a girl to do? I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. That's where I saw Adey's 80 Spaghetti Squash with Pesto. Hmmm, Broccoli Pesto? Another search assured me that wasn't a crazy idea, as plenty of hits came up. Okay then, let's do it!

When making a traditional Pesto, I use basil and pine nuts. I have more recently gotten into the habit of making a Kale-Almond Pesto, because I love kale and almost always have almonds in some form or another. This time, I remembered having picked up a bag of walnuts during the holidays and, not having used them for anything (again, I shop with no clear intent), stored them in the freezer, so why not use those?

1 Spaghetti Squash
Olive Oil
1 lg crown of broccoli
1 c walnuts
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 t salt
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 c parsley
1/2 c grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon (zest too if you want - my lemon was already naked)
15-20 Grape or cherry tomatoes (a mix of colors is nice), halved
1/4 c shredded Mozzarella
1 T grated Parmesan
1 T seasoned dry bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, using a spoon to scrape out the seeds
  3. Brush the inside of the squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake 20", cut-side down
  4. Flip the squash cut-side up and continue baking until tender (the squash easily pulls away from the skin) - you can leave it cut-side down if you want, but I like to get a little carmelization going
  5. When the squash is tender, use a fork to gently scrape the flesh away from the skin (sounds gross) and transfer to a casserole dish
  6. For the pesto, briefly blanch the broccoli in boiling water just to take that raw crunch off of it, then rinse in cold water until cool to stop the cooking process
  7. Add the walnuts, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to the bowl of your food processor and pulse to break up the walnuts
  8. Add the broccoli, Parmesan, and lemon juice to the walnuts and process until well blended
  9. With the machine running, slowly pour olive oil through the feed tube until you achieve a texture you like - I prefer mine thick
  10. Toss the spaghetti squash with about a cup of the pesto and all of your halved tomatoes
  11. Top with shredded mozzarella
  12. Combined the remaining 1T of Parmesan with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top, dotting here and there with butter
  13. Return to oven until melted and bubbly

Cut squash in half lengthwise and use spoon to scrape out seeds
Season with olive oil, S&P and bake, cut-side-down, until tender

Using a fork, scrape squash into casserole dish

Blanch broccoli, then rinse in cold water until cool
Pulse together garlic, walnuts, salt, and crushed red pepper

Add lemon juice, broccoli, and Parmesan
With processor running, stream in olive oil until desired texture reached

Add tomatoes to squash/pesto mix
Toss squash with pesto

Top with mozzarella, parmesan, bread crumbs and dots of butter

Bake until melted and bubbly

Broccoli-Pesto and Tomato Baked Spaghetti Squash : Hye Thyme Cafe

Broccoli-Pesto and Tomato Baked Spaghetti Squash : Hye Thyme Cafe

Broccoli-Pesto and Tomato Baked Spaghetti Squash : Hye Thyme Cafe

Refrigerate or freeze the remaining pesto for another use. I usually transfer it to silicon molds and freeze until solid, then pop them into a zip-top bag. If I thought of it at the time, this would have been a good opportunity to try out another idea I saw on Pinterest ... transfer all of the pesto to a zip-top bag, and use the side of your hand or the handle of a wooden spoon to press a grid into the pesto. That way, when you want to use some, you just snap off a portion or two where the lines are. If you want to try that with something thinner than pesto, you would probably want to freeze it for a while before making the dents.

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