Summer Squash Pasta with Basil & Parmesan
We affectionately call this dish "squash-ta" at our house and it's in regular rotation this time of year, pulling in classic summer pesto flavors of basil, parm and garlic. It delivers a healthy dose of veggies, cooked down into a jammy goodness, and comes together quickly. Easily scaled up, you can feed impromptu dinner guests a simple but scrumptious meal with little fuss. This recipe serves 4.
- 1/4 cup EVOO (we like a medium-bodied classic olive oil like Olio Santo or House Blend here)
- 6-8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or, for less overt garlic, sub half or all of the olive oil above for Garlic oil)
- 2lbs assorted summer squashes and zucchini, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo-style chili pepper, plus more for serving
- 12oz rigatoni, ziti, or other large tube pasta
- ½ cup Parmesan, grated (about 2oz), plus more for serving
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup basil leaves, divided
Heat oil in a large, high rimmed skillet over medium. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until very lightly browned around the edges, 2-4 minutes. Add squash and increase heat to medium high; season with salt to help draw out the veggie's water. Cook, tossing occasionally, until squash begins to break down. Turn down heat once it begins sticking/browning, add 1 tsp chili, and continue to cook until the squash is jammy and soft, 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente. You will continue cooking it with the squash so make sure it's not fully cooked at this point.
Transfer pasta to skillet with squash using a slotted spoon, with ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Toss pasta and squash, adding ½ cup Parmesan in stages along with more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until the sauce coats the pasta and pasta is al dente to your liking. Turn off the heat, add the lemon juice and most of the basil, toss to combine, serving right away with more parmesan, chili and remaining basil. (One of the keys to keeping the pasta from overcooking is to dish it out of the hot skillet right away.)
- Make it even easier: Skip the chopped garlic and chilis and use our Aglio Olio spice blend instead, adding it at the same point in the recipe where you would the chili.
- Toss in crumbled feta at the end, but scale back your salt to taste, accordingly.
- Go red: To turn this into a red sauce, add 1-2 cups tomato sauce with the chili pepper (season with salt if needed) - and we like a dash of cream, if you have it! This creates more of a "vodka sauce" kind of spin.
- For crunch: top with toasted chopped walnuts, pine nuts or sliced almonds.
Recipe and photo adapted from Bon Appetite.