Here you see Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto Sauce and Beets with Greens.
Now we are going to flash back to what they once were:
A beautiful Spaghetti Squash -
A handsome beet trio:
Punctured and wrapped, then roasted for one hour at 375 degrees.
It could be the beginning of a murder mystery. But it's the story of an adventure in the kitchen.
Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto Sauce
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup roasted macadamia nuts or pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lime juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons each cilantro leaves and pine nuts for garnish.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Pierce spaghetti squash shell several times with a large fork, and place in a baking dish. Bake 25 minutes, turn squash over, bake until flesh is tender and yields gently to pressure 20-35 minutes more
NOTE: For my dinner, I wanted to dress the plate up with some vibrant color, so I chose beets. Roasting beets preserves the color and the sweet flavor. I am linking you here to beautiful beet roasting instructions by About.com. It's a good idea to use the oven as efficiently as you can. Roasting 2 vegetables at the same time will make you stand a little taller, knowing you've done your bit to use energy efficiently.
3. While squash is cooking, strip cilantro leaves from stems and set leaves aside. Finely chop thin stems and place them in a blender or food processor.
4. Add nuts, garlic, lemon and lime juices, oil and salt. Puree. Add the cilantro leaves and process until leaves are coarsely chopped.
5. Once squash is cooked, let cool 10-15 minutes, then cut in half and use a spoon to remove seeds and strings from the center. Pull two forks lengthwise through flesh to separate into long strands.
6. Pile the Spaghetti into a large bowl, add pesto sauce and mix well.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and pine nuts.
I love beet greens. So, I removed the greens from the stems, chopped them a bit, and set them aside. When the beets came out of the oven, I let them cool, then slipped off their skins and sliced them into beautiful crimson coins. In a small sauce pan, I heated a couple of tablespoons of oil, sauteed a chopped shallot, added the beet greens and tossed them while they wilted to about half their original volume. I added the beet slices and heated through. Done.
About.com suggested that you can use the oil and beet juices that collect in the aluminum foil pocket for your dressing. Brilliant. I did just that. My dressing was a little lemon, a little olive oil, a dash of salt, and the beet drippings. I drizzled this over the beets. Yum.
A crunch texture was missing from this meal. Maybe next time I'll reserve more pine nuts for the garnish. Maybe a bright carrot salad would be nice. And maybe I won't toss all of the pesto into the squash, but serve it as a sauce on top of the squash. Yes, the flavors are all there, the presentation needs a little work.