Baked Squash with Basil and Walnuts

by katerina on March 12, 2010

I really love winter squash but, by the end of March I lack ideas and inspiration — Heaven forbid I should make the same recipe twice. However, since I did buy a large squash and with it taunting me from the counter, I had to cook something. Thankfully I managed to create a new Italian inspired squash recipe which is extremely flexible, and easy to make-ahead.

Though I made them both fresh, you could use leftover squash and jarred pesto in this squash recipe . After an excessive vacation I was trying to keep the recipe very light but a gentle dusting of Parmesan or blue cheese on the baking squash casserole would add a lovely extra zing.

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Baked Squash with Basil and Walnuts

(serves 4)

1 large buttercup squash
1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy insides and discard. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until very tender. Allow to cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh into a bowl. (*Tip*: Roast it the night before, it will be perfectly fine cooling on your counter overnight and it will be much less prep work when you are ready for to put together the dish.)

Meanwhile put walnuts in a food processor and pulse until you have small walnut pieces. Add basil and salt and pepper and turn food processor on. Stream in olive oil slowly while machine is running. Once all the oil is incorporated stop the processor and scrape down the sides. Pulse a few more times to make sure you have an even pesto. It should be medium thick. Add to the bowl and stir into the squash. Scoop into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

This can be made ahead and it reheats quite well.

Prep Time: 60 minutes | Cooking Time: 30 minutes | Total Time:90 minutes
Calories(approximate per serving): 185

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