Summer Special: A colourful pasta dish
Zucchini or summer squash makes for a colourful pasta dish.
Washington: A combination of pasta and summer squash results in a light, flavourful dish that's full of colour. Peel the squash, as the skin helped to keep the pieces intact throughout the cooking process. Because summer squash contains so much liquid, add salt and drain it to keep the sauce from ending up watery and bland.
The salted squash also browned beautifully; just 5 minutes in a hot skillet give a light char to each batch. To accompany the squash, chose halved grape tomatoes, fresh basil and pine nuts.
Add the sauce with balsamic vinegar to give it a kick and paired the sauce with farfalle, since its nooks and crannies easily trapped the flavour-packed ingredients. A combination of zucchini and summer squash makes for a more colorful dish, but either may be used exclusively if desired. Cherry tomatoes can be substituted for the grape tomatoes.
If farfalle is unavailable, campanelle and fusilli are good substitutes. Prefer using kosher salt because residual grains can be easily wiped away from the squash; if using table salt, be sure to reduce all of the salt amounts in the recipe by half.
Farfalle with Zucchini, tomatoes and pine nuts
2 pounds zucchini and/or summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
Kosher salt and pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound farfalle
12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Grated Parmesan cheese
Toss squash with 1 tablespoon salt and let drain in colander for 30 minutes. Pat squash dry with paper towels and carefully wipe away any residual salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and slightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes, reducing heat if skillet begins to scorch; transfer to large plate. Repeat with 1 tablespoon oil and remaining squash; transfer to plate.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in squash and cook until heated through, about 30 seconds.
Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
Add squash mixture, tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Serve with Parmesan.