Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Squash and Spinach Pesto

At some point last spring I bought a variety of squash for about twenty-five cents each. I bought so many that we couldn't eat them, and I ended up slicing them into half-moon shapes and freezing them. I don't remember what kind of squash they were, some were yellow and some green. They were just sitting in my freezer and I thought often of what I would do with them. Autumn has just passed, so I've grown a bit tired of pureed squash soup, but I was pretty sure the only way they would be good was to be pureed in some way.

I decided to use them as a sauce, making a sort of pesto. I let them thaw in the refrigerator and heated them slightly on the stove to make sure they were cooked. I made the pesto sauce specifically to go with Green Rice, but it could be used over any other rice or pasta dish, spread on toasts or crackers, or mixed into soup. Mix some pesto with your favorite tomato sauce or alfredo sauce for a fun kick.

Helpful tip for any and all pestos: place the sauce into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, store in an airtight container in the freezer. This way you'll have a couple of tablespoons of pesto whenever you want it, without all the fuss!

I hope you enjoy the unusual combination of flavors in this pesto.

Squash and Spinach Pesto
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups chopped squash - zucchini, yellow, pattypan, delicata, etc
  • about 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
Cook the squash until it is soft, by steaming, boiling or sauteeing - for zucchini or yellow squash this will take only a couple of minutes, for harder squash this will take longer. When finished, let cool slightly and be sure to squeeze out all excess water or oil.

Combine the squash, cashews and spinach leaves in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to chop everything, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed. Turn on the blade and slowly stream in the olive oil until a thick, paste-like sauce forms, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Use more olive oil if you wish to have a thinner sauce.

Yummy green - reminds me of spring!

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