Hey friends! And happy spring!
Oh my gosh, I have got a divine meal for you tonight!
Introducing my Pesto Spaghetti Squash Boats!
If you’ve never had spaghetti squash, consider this your personal invitation, because if you ask me, spaghetti squash is a gift from heaven!
For someone like me, who can’t eat gluten or grains, I long for that slupry, carby pasta experience, and friends – this hits the spot!!
The entire meal is gluten free, keto, Specific Carb Diet friendly, AND paleo!
And it is absolutely delicious. My man and I both cleaned our plates!
We did a “his and hers” version of this meal. His, topped with slices of a gorgeous NY Strip Steak, and Hers, topped with succulent jumbo shrimp!
So choose your own adventure!
So without further ado…
Here’s What You Need: (Serves 2)
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped (and reserved), skin pricked with fork
1 cup packed fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1-2 garlic cloves (depending on how strong of a garlic flavor you prefer)
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil (plus or minus, depending on consistency)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper
6 large cooked shrimp
16 oz Bone in New York Strip
Fresh Rosemary Sprig
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
I made the pesto in advance, and it couldn’t be easier. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor, minus the olive oil and cheese. Blitz it up, then slowly pour in the olive oil, and process until it is your desired consistency. (I like a little on the thicker side). Finally, add the cheese and pulse until it is fully incorporated. Set aside. *Pro tip: Definitely take the extra few minutes to toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet over low heat. It makes a world of a difference in the flavor of the pesto!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick tinfoil. (It is important that it is nonstick tinfoil.)
Carefully cut the tail off the end of your spaghetti squash. Then, set it up on the flat surface you just created, and CAREFULLY cut the squash lengthwise. Scoop the seeds, and reserve. Poke the outside of the squash all over with a fork.
Rub the outside and inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place cut-side down on your baking tray, and bake for one hour. **When there are 20 minutes left, add your seeds to the tray, sprinkle with salt, and return to the oven so they roast along with the squash.
Your squash is finished when you press on the skin and it gives easily.
If making this with steak, make your steak when the squash has 20 minutes left in the oven.
Three important things:
1) YOU MUST HAVE A HEAVY BOTTOMED CAST IRON SKILLET! (A perfect sear is impossible to get on a nonstick skillet.)
2) You MUST have a high-smoke oil — grapeseed and avocado oil are great options.
3) The steak MUST be DRY and AT ROOM TEMPERATURE — so pat it dry with a paper towel before you begin.
Start by heating up a cast iron skillet over medium-high to high heat, until it is screamin’ hot. Meanwhile, dry your steak with paper towels, and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Really press the seasoning in there. And don’t forget to season the sides of the thick steak.
Then, heat about 1-2 tsp of grapeseed or avocado oil in the cast iron pan. You can test if it is ready by doing the water-drop test: if it sizzles it’s ready to go.
Then, place your steak in the pan, and cook it for one minute on this side. *use the timer on your phone* Then, after one minute, flip to the other side, and cook for another minute. *Use the timer.* Repeat this process again — so a total of four flips, equaling twice on each side. Then, add your butter, crushed garlic and thyme to the pan.
Now it is time to baste, and this goes quickly — just for another minute and 30 seconds.
Then, carefully, tilt the pan towards you so that the fat collects on one side, and then with a spoon, spoon the melted butter/fat on top of the steak, basting it and getting all that flavor locked into the meat.
After a minute and a half, remove the steak from the heat, place it on a cutting board, and immediately test it with a meat thermometer to see if it is done. It should read 130 degrees for medium rare. (Whatever you do DO NOT cut into the steak to see if it is done or “pink” — this will result in it losing all the juices and it will be DRY.)
THEN LET THE STEAK REST! For about 7 minutes, so that it retains and soaks up all the amazing juices that will make it the absolute perfect steak.
It should now be time to take the spaghetti squash out of the oven.
Once you take it out of the oven, carefully flip the squash over, and with a fork, scrape the sides, creating noodles. These “noodles” form naturally, and you can continue scraping all the way to the rind.
Then, add one scoop of pesto to the noodles and mix to combine.
Top with either 6 shrimp or slices of steak, along with fresh basil and your roasted seeds.
Oh my WORD, this was so dang delicious! I took a bite and immediately did a happy dance!
I gotta tell ya, spaghetti squash is a gift from heaven for those who are gluten free or unable to eat grains, because it really hits that “carby spot” that makes us all warm and fuzzy inside! haha
But for real – it’s slurpy, you can twirl it on your fork, and the caramelization in the oven really gives it a wonderfully nutty — almost pasta-like flavor!
And with the bright and fresh pesto…it’s a match made in heaven!
I loved mine with shrimp, but my special gentleman had quite the treat with such a beautiful steak! I mean, just look at that perfection. Worthy of a Michelin star restaurant, if I do say so myself!
Lastly, I’ve just got to touch on the beauty of this dinner. I mean, there is drama, when you present these plates with big spaghetti squash boats to the table! It is a striking presentation. People’s eyes get wide, and their curiosity is piqued, wondering…oh my gosh, is that all for me?!
And yes, friends. Yes. And they will enjoy every last bite, just like we did. We cleaned out plates! All that was left was an empty rind! YUM!
Do yourself a favor and make this dish! You may never eat regular pasta again! (Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, lol but hey — it’ll give it a run for its money!)
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