Every summer, my mom would let a few of our zucchini grow to ridiculous size: unwieldy squash a good two feet long, bulbous and awkward, just begging to be used like some medieval weapon by mischievous kids. I think she grew them so large to amuse my sister and me, though I am certain that she was equally entertained by their exaggerated size and shape.
It’s that time of year again: the zucchini vines are prolific and gardens are overrun with gorgeous squash. The surplus can be fatiguing. And that’s why this pasta is so perfect: it’s a completely different approach to summer squash. Dressed with a fresh basil pesto and intensely sweet little cherry tomatoes, it is a simple homage to the pleasures of the season. It tastes especially great outside.
Summer Squash Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto
Yield: 4 servings
4 medium summer squash
2 cups basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Using a julienne peeler (or a regular vegetable peeler for wider ribbons), slowly julienne each squash from top to bottom.
Place julienned squash in a large bowl and set aside.
Prepare the pesto: combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse until a coarse pesto forms.
Carefully toss the zucchini and yellow squash with the pesto.
Divide among four plates. Top with the cherry tomatoes and feta cheese.
All photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink.