Roasted Butternut Squash Pesto

Sunday, October 3 -

I roasted my first butternut squash ever! I've enjoyed eating it many times, but have never actually cooked it myself. Roasting is so simple and I could eat an entire roasted squash by itself, it's that good. The flavor becomes intensified and deliciously rich.

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.

Roasted Butternut Squash Pesto
Ingredients, Makes 2 cups pesto
   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.

I learned how incredibly easy it is roast a butternut squash. Roasting makes the squash delicious and here's how to do it:

   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
   inch pieces.
   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.


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