Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pasta and Summer Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Nuts

One of my go to recipes in the summer, particularly with summer squash, is what we call the P3: Pasta, Produce, and Pesto (with a good sprinkling of Parmesan). But today, I didn't have pesto! Ack! My trusty Cook's Illustrated Cookbook came to the rescue with a similar, yet much more complex tasting, summer recipe. This is a good way to use up some summer squash bounty in that CSA basket or from your garden (when you're tired of squash casserole!). Bonus: this is good at room temp!

Pasta and Summer Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Nuts
~Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

  • 1.5-2 pounds yellow summer squash, zucchini, or a mixture, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 T. coarse sea or kosher salt
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 12-16 oz. pasta (CI recommends farfalle; I used spaghetti)
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 12 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  1. Toss squash pieces with 1 tablespoon coarse sea or kosher salt (use half as much if using regular table salt). Let drain in a colander over a bowl (or in the sink) for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a double layer of paper towels and blot dry with more paper towels.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick or cast iron skillet over high heat. Saute squash in two batches, 5-7 minutes each, until golden brown, slightly charred in spots, and cooked (this gives it a great smoky taste). If skillet starts to burn, turn down heat slightly. Move each batch to a plate when it's done.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 4 quarts water for pasta. When boiling, add pasta and 2 tablespoons salt. Cook per directions on package. When done, save 1/2 cup pasta water and drain pasta well. Put back in stockpot.
  4. When squash is done, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in same skillet over high heat and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for about 30 seconds (until fragrant) and add squash back in. Stir for another 30 seconds. Then, dump entire mixture into pot with cooked and drained pasta. Add in tomatoes, basil, nuts, and balsamic vinegar. Add 1 more tablespoon oil and cooking water if needed for more moisture.
  5. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.
~Serves 4-6

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