One of my favorite things about my family is how we love to cook together. Every birthday or holiday that comes around, we get all excited talking about “what’s on the menu”. I am lucky to live just 20 minutes away from my parents house, where my sister and brother still live (they’re younger but both moving out for college/grad school in the fall!).
We rarely go out to eat as a family because of how much we love cooking together! There will be at least three of us in the kitchen at once. My mom, sister and I love to put on our aprons, pour a wine spritzer, and get cooking.
This past weekend was Father’s Day and my mom’s birthday. We decided to combine the two and have a big dinner. We cooked up a storm– tomato caprese appetizers, spinach dip with crackers, pineapple avocado salad, roasted carrots and mushrooms, and this dish: roasted spaghetti squash with creamy pesto and shrimp.
The pesto recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s recipe that we found years ago. We’ve changed quite a bit of things to create our own family recipe which I’m sharing with you today! The biggest change we made was using walnuts instead of pine nuts. Trust me, you can’t tell the difference. But you do notice that pine nuts are 2-3 times more expensive than walnuts, which is why we made the switch!
We paired this delicious creamy pesto (with basil right out of my mom’s herb garden) with roasted spaghetti squash and sauteed shrimp.
While you’re roasting the squash, you can make the pesto and shrimp, and have this dish ready in less than 40 minutes. Serve with roasted carrots and/or freshly baked flaky croissants (we did both). And/or angel food cake with strawberries and whip cream (which we also did). Hey, it was a holiday and a birthday :)
Here’s the recipe!
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper, each
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Using a sharp knife, poke holes in the spaghetti squash, in a dotted line where you plan to slice.
- Microwave for 5 minutes. Place squash flat side down, and use the knife to cut in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place face down in a 9x13 baking dish, and add a little water. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to a food processor, add the basil, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Process while slowly drizzling in olive oil. Next add the cream and butter to a saucepan set over medium heat. Pour in the pesto, stir until well combined, and let simmer for 3 minutes.
- In a larger pan, sautee the shrimp in a little olive oil until pink.
- When the squash is done cooking, use a fork to shred. Top with creamy pesto and shrimp!
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!