Pesto Spaghetti Squash Bake with Eggplant

Keith's Recipes

Spaghetti Squash Baked in Pesto

A pesto based meatless recipe. Great as a side dish, or a main dish in a nice autumn meal. If you like pesto, you'll probably like this baked squash!

So, I was at my brother's place in Billings when my father gave me a large box of fresh produce he had picked from the garden. Of course, I'm not going to turn down free food. But that left me going through a box of stuff to see what was in there. Couple a couple of large spaghetti squash and an eggplant threatening to get overripe with a pot luck a few days later, and, well, here you go.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash Bake with Eggplant

Serves about 6 as a main dish, possibly 12 as a side.

Preheat oven to 450°F

Cut the squash in half and place face-down in a baking pan. Fill pan with water about 1/2 inch up the sides of the squash and bake for 45 minutes. Remove squash from pan and cool face-up. I find that I can only roast one squash at a time, so this step actually takes an hour and a half.

Then take the squash and scoop the seeds and strings out with a spoon and discard. Then scrape the flesh of the squash into a large bowl and set aside. You can refrigerate it if you are not proceeding with the rest of preparation right away.

Cut the large stems and flowers off the basil and oregano so you have mostly leaves. Coarse chop the oregano, basil and parsley. Keep separate for now. Chop the garlic and set aside.

Mix ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, about 1/3 the garlic, and about 1/4 of the chopped parsley together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Cut eggplant into about 1/2 inch pieces and cut off skins and set aside.

In a heavy skillet heat olive oil just until it starts to smoke. Add eggplant and remaining garlic. Reduce heat and stir constantly until eggplant starts to become translucent (about 3 minutes). Add basil, oregano, about 2/3 of remaining parsley and a dash or red pepper flakes. Stir and cover. Allow to simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes. Stir in milk and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.

Adjust oven to 350°F.

In a large baking dish or shallow casserole pan, spread about half of squash over the bottom. Dollop ricotta mixture over squash more or less evenly. Spread pesto (basil, oregano, eggplant mixture) over ricotta layer. Spread remaining squash over pesto about evenly. Cover with mozzarella. Garnish with half of remaining parsley.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the top has golden points.

Garnish with remaining parsley and allow to cool for five to ten minutes before serving.

Serve as a main dish with salad, or as a side dish with something like steak or grilled chicken.