I don’t garden, and I will probably never garden, but I do love garden-fresh produce more than just about anything in the world. In June, when I start dropping subtle hints to my friends that I’ll cook for them if they share their bounty, I can’t get enough just-harvested zucchini and tomatoes so fresh they taste like sunshine. By August, though, there are so many that I can’t keep up with them… and the idea of one more grilled summer squash is too much to bear.
Healthyish did a Farmers’ Market Challenge last year, to take the produce we have too much of at the end of summer and make totally unexpected, totally easy recipes with them. I loved the idea of their squash pasta, where you cook down ripe summer squash into a jammy sauce. This is my take on that recipe, with fresh pasta and lots more vegetables. I honestly had no idea that cooked vegetables could still taste this fresh. Try this recipe with whatever you have in your fridge that you think would go well in a zucchini or yellow squash base. You won’t be disappointed.
Late Summer Harvest Pasta
Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as a side to grilled fish or chicken
Total time: 30 minutes
1/4c. olive oil
12 garlic cloves, minced
2lbs green squash, yellow squash or zucchini, cut into small pieces
1lb patty pan squash, quartered
1 pint small tomatoes
1lb large tube pasta, preferably fresh
1c. good-quality grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
1c. basil leaves, washed well
Salt & pepper
- Heat oil in a large skillet, and saute the garlic on medium heat until it’s golden. Add the summer squashes and a few pinches of salt, and raise the heat to medium-high. The squash will start to break down after about 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium, add the patty pan squash and cook for 10 more minutes, until the summer squash is jammy and the patty pans start to soften. Add the tomatoes and cook 5 more minutes, until they start to burst. (You want them to stay mostly in tact.) Taste and season with salt and pepper as you go.
- While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta according to the package directions. It’s better to keep the pasta slightly firm, because it’s going to cook more once it’s combined with the sauce.
- Add pasta to vegetable skillet, along with 1/2c. to 1c. of pasta water. The water is what will create the full effect of a sauce, so add it in stages, alternating with the Parmesan, until it looks like the pasta, cheese and veggies are really combining well.
- Remove from the heat. Add the lemon juice and most of the gently torn basil leaves.
- Serve, garnished with more basil and cheese.