Playing on a pizza flavor combination of my sister Jamie's, I decided to experiment a little in the kitchen and make a Roasted Butternut Squash Pesto. I'm so used to depending on a recipe to tell me exactly what to do and I wanted improvise and let the good ole taste buds guide me. I'm so glad I did, wow, I loved this pesto. The butternut squash gives it an extra depth and a hint of sweet/savory punch.
Sigh ... if only everything could go this well the first time around.
2 cups roasted butternut squash (roasting instructions below)
5 cups whole basil leaves (4 ounces prepackaged basil)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. In a food processor, blend the toasted walnuts and garlic for about 20-30
2. Add the basil, salt, pepper and process to combine completely.
3. While still processing, slowly drizzle in olive oil until sooth and finely
blended (use the feed tube attachment).
4. Add the Parmesan cheese and roasted butternut squash and and pulse until
5. Serve over whole wheat pasta, gnocchi, sandwiches, and as a dip for veggies.
I served this over whole wheat linguine. The nuttiness of the pasta went really well with the butternut squash. I reserved some of the roasted butternut squash to put over the finished pasta and I highly recommend saving some roasted butternut for the extra kick. This makes a healthy serving of pesto and it's simple to half if you don't need as much.
To get the basic proportions correct for pesto, I adapted Barefoot Contessa's Homemade Pesto.
Something I've learned.
1. Preheat your oven to 400 and degrees and peel the squash (I used a pairing
knife), cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, and then dice into 1
2. Coat the squash with olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons), sprinkle liberally
with salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet for 25-30 minutes or until
tender. Make sure to flip the squash halfway through.