I am in full-on summer vegetable mode now. I run over to my tomato garden every day after work to see if my assortment of cherry and pear tomatoes are ripe enough to pick. I spy on my cubanelle peppers, hoping that they'll finally be big enough to pick and grill. I imagine stockpiling corn on the cob, giving it a quick dip in some boiling water, and slathering it with butter. And I crave summer squash, as much summer squash as I can get my hands on.
It's a problem. . . or is it? If I'm going to be craving something, it's better to be craving summer vegetables than Cheez-Its, right?
I found a gorgeous bright yellow summer squash recently and thought I'd let it shine in a pasta dish. I cut the squash into long strips that would pair well with some even longer strands of thin spaghetti. I salted the squash and let the salt bring some of its moisture to the surface in hopes that the squash would brown more quickly if it was a little drier. I tossed it in some hot olive oil along with slivers of garlic and cooked the whole mix until nutty and golden brown while the pasta boiled away in a separate pot.
Finally, I mixed the spaghetti into the squash and garlic "sauce," divided the mixture between two bowls, and sprinkled a little shredded Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesan (a three-cheese blend you can find at Whole Foods) over the pasta along with some torn basil leaves.
With soft and golden-brown strips of summer squash, garlic notes, fresh hits of basil, and sharp, salty cheese, this summer pasta dish definitely satisfies all those summer squash cravings -- and in just a short time, with so little effort.
Pasta With Summer Squash, Garlic, And Basil
(adapted from Rustic Italian)
This easy summer pasta dish is lightly garlicky and full of golden-brown summer squash.
Print this recipe
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: Makes a light supper for two
1 medium summer squash
4 ounces thin spaghetti (1/4 of a box)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
Shredded 3-cheese blend (Fontina, Asiago, and Parmesan) or Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves, torn
Cut squash lengthwise into thin planks, cut planks into strips, and halve strips crosswise. Spread squash strips out on cutting board and sprinkle lightly with salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes to draw out some moisture. Pat dry with paper towels.
Meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook thin spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. (Stir in a little oil if needed to keep the pasta from sticking together while you cook the squash.)
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash and garlic, toss to coat in oil, and sauté until squash is golden brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir pasta into squash mixture. Add reserved cooking water a couple of tablespoons at a time to loosen mixture as needed (you may only need a few tablespoons).
Serve pasta topped with cheese and basil.
Are you all about summer vegetables right now too?