It took me about a month, but I finally made my way back into the kitchen for this healthy meal. If you’re curious what I’ve been eating the last month during my cooking strike, I’ll tell you it has not been good. Mainly the crusts from my sons turkey sandwiches, Starbucks breakfast wraps, ‘mini time meals’ from Taco Time, and cookie dough ice cream. No exaggeration.
I’m baby-stepping my way to a full body cleanse, so spaghetti squash seemed like a good choice. If I have to lay off the carbs, at least I can pretend I am eating pasta so it’s not quite so painful. I’ve eaten a lot of spaghetti squash over the years, but have never paired it with a pesto sauce. I usually put a more traditional spaghetti sauce with it, and then about a pound of parmesan (to negate all of its wholesomeness). This time, I decided to try pesto for a change. I threw in some sweet cherry tomatoes and deliciously fresh prawns for added protein. I have to say, I am quite impressed at how yummy it was! My hubby even liked it (except for the prawns – he avoids scavengers like the plague). I mixed up my usual pesto but used 1/2 baby arugula for a more peppery kick. Be warned, you will have plenty of pesto left over, so plan on adding it into your dinner plans for the week, or you can reduce the amounts. I prefer the leftovers!
Pesto ‘Spaghetti’ Squash & Prawns:
Serves 21 ‘spaghetti’ squash 8 garlic cloves, chopped 1/2 cup pine nuts 2 cups basil leaves 2 cups baby arugula 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper 1 cup extra virgin olive oil + a little splash 3/4 cup shredded parmesan 1/2 tbsp butter 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 6-8 prawns, tail-on & divined 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 425°. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside flesh with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until soft and tender.
Place pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse until they are finely minced and incorporated. Add the basil leaves, baby arugula, salt and pepper. Close the lid on your food processor and slowly stream in the extra virgin olive oil while whirling the ingredients for about 1 minute.
Add the shredded parmesan and whirl in the food processor for about 1 more minute, until the pesto is well blended. You should have a nice creamy, puree. If it is too thick, turn the food processor back on and add more olive oil.
Set aside the pesto. In a large skillet, place a pad of butter and a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes while the butter and oil get hot. Season the prawns with salt & pepper and place them in the skillet. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and let them char and wilt. Turn the prawns to the other side after about 1 minute and cook through until they are pink and opaque.
By this time, the spaghetti squash should be ready to come out of the oven. Hold the squash with a towel or pot holder, and scoop out the insides with a fork. Place the stringy squash next to the prawns and tomatoes in the skillet (avoid stirring the tomatoes, they will be very soft). Add a couple spoonfuls of pesto onto the spaghetti squash and stir until the sauce is well incorporated.
Plate the squash first and top with the cherry tomatoes and prawns. Add a sprinkle of parmesan and basil for garnish.