The title of this recipe is slightly misleading as there is no pasta involved… only veg, mostly squash! But I wanted to recreate one of my favourite comfort meals, pesto and pasta, using a carb-free alternative to the good stuff. The chunky pieces of squash are really filling and have a much better effect on my blood glucose levels than rigatoni! Personally, I need to inject 1-2 units depending on how much squash I eat but adjust this to your own requirements. For non-diabetics this is a carb-free meal.
The pesto sauce recipe is from dear old Jamie Oliver, it’s pretty standard except that he adds a squeeze of lemon juice at the end, which I think is a genius touch that really lifts the flavour. However, this last step can be omitted if you’re not keen or you don’t have a spare lemon.
This should make enough pesto for at least 2 meals; if it is covered it can be left in the fridge for a couple of days. Alternatively you could use up a smaller portion of pesto in a salad dressing by adding a little extra oil and lemon juice to thin it out.
Though relatively straightforward, this meal can be a slight faff to make as it seems to take me ages to cut up the squash but on the plus side both the pesto sauce and the roasted veggies can be made in advance. Careful of your fingers – those squashes can be pesky hard blighters to chop.
- A variety of Squashes – I normally use butternut, pattypan and tiger
- 5 baby courgettes cut in half lengthways, or 2 normal courgettes cut into thickish strips
- 1 red pepper
- 1 red onion- All veg cut into large, equal-ish sized pieces so they roast at similar times
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
- Kalamata olives, deseeded
- Olive oil (around a tablespoon)
- Mustard powder (optional)
- 3 large handfuls of Basil, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 handful of Pine nuts, lightly toasted
- ½ clove of Garlic, chopped
- 1 large handful of Parmesan
- Extra virgin Olive oil
- ½ a Lemon
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 /180 (fan) / Gas mark 6.
- Wash, de-seed (where relevant) and cut the squashes, courgette, red pepper and onion into similarly sized, large chunks (see photo) and add to large roasting tin. You can leave the skin on the squash (it’s edible and much quicker to prepare this way), or if you’re not keen then peel them but do be prepared for the meal to take much longer!
- Add a glug of olive oil and stir the veggies around so they are coated thoroughly, season with salt, pepper and a little mustard powder if you have any, then pop in the oven to roast for around 40-60 minutes, or until golden, slightly crispy and roasted.
- The pesto can be made using either a pestle and mortar or a food processor/hand whizzer: Pound/process the basil leaves with a pinch of maldon sea salt and the garlic. Add the pine nuts and beat together again.Pour the mixture into a bowl and add half the parmesan and a good glug of oil. Stir together until you have a good consistency (it should be oozing). Season to taste and keep adding the remaining parmesan and more oil until you get the desired consistency or amount needed. Add a generous squeeze of lemon at this point (though this is not essential).
- Add the cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives to a separate roasting tin in the oven for the last 15 minutes to warm through.
- When all the veggies are roasted serve, stirring through a generous spoonful of the pesto, with an extra dollop on top. Scatter the olive and tomatoes on each portion and grate a little parmesan over the top. Lovely with a refreshing green salad.