How was everybody’s Halloween weekend?! Besides the rain and dreary weather (which is only fitting for Halloween, I guess, right?), it was a great weekend for us here in Madison.
Since I had Friday off from work, Philip and I made a whole day of it. What a treat! Normally my days off consist of chores and errands — certainly not casual coffee dates chatting about life, hiking through the leaves and bluffs in Wisconsin, or capping off the day with sushi and ice cream.
Our hiking trip was at same place we went a month ago, but this time the crowds had drastically declined and the weather was slightly chillier. It was peaceful, beautiful seeing the trails covered in leaves (and the off trails…
we I may have lost the trail for a bit…), and just plain fun to explore nature.
On Halloween, I could sense the excitement in the air while at work. I was excited as well since Philip had given me an early birthday gift for us to go see Wicked, the musical about how the Wicked Witch of the West became wicked from the Wizard of Oz. Absolutely incredible. I highly recommend it. It was my third time seeing it and it never gets old.
From work to passing out candy to all our cute trick-or-treaters to the musical, time was short with little of it left for preparing dinner. This Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts was the perfect solution. Besides being able to use up the last of the spaghetti squash from our garden, it was so simple it was almost ridiculous. It was a delicious vegetable side to pair with other leftovers we already had in the fridge.
While the squash was roasting in the oven, I just had to prepare the garlic and herb mixture (and okay, to be honest, I was probably also getting ready for the musical at the same time). Hands-off prep time is my favorite! Once the squash was roasted, this dish came together in no time.
Philip and I couldn’t get over how flavorful it was! The herbs and garlic give it a wonderful flavor, but it’s the pine nuts that really shine. Philip kept saying how buttery it tasted while he kept going up for seconds…and thirds. Finally, I told him there was only a tablespoon of butter in the whole dish — the pine nuts were the hidden culprit. It’s an oily nut (from the pinecones of evergreen trees, no less!) and has a sweet, buttery flavor. While pine nuts aren’t cheap, they are definitely the star of this dish. They add texture and so much flavor to an otherwise simple dish.
I half joked that I wanted to replace the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy at Thanksgiving with this Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash…but then decided maybe it’d be wise to have it in addition to the classic. (Don’t worry, Dad, you’ll still get your mashed potatoes :)).
Whether you’re in a rush and need a quick and delicious vegetable side dish to go with your week night dinner or are wanting to mix things up at your Thanksgiving table this year, Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts is the way to go. Enjoy!
Garlic & Herb Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (2-1/2 to 3 pounds) or two small squash
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried ground thyme (or 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme)
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian parsley (or 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (toast on baking sheet for 5 minutes after oven turned off from squash)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Halve squash lengthwise; remove and discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a large baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil. Using a fork, poke the skin all over. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender. Once it’s cooled slightly, use a fork to remove the squash pulp from the shell by scraping. Cover and keep warm.
- Turn off the oven. Spread pine nuts over a baking sheet. Put into the oven that is still warm from the squash. Toast the pine nuts for 5 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden brown.
- In a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook garlic in butter mixture until tender (30 – 60 seconds). Stir in the thyme, parsley and lemon juice. Add the shredded squash and toasted pine nuts, tossing the mixture well until heated through. Serve immediately.