Thursday, July 12, 2012

Got Summer Squash? Make Pasta Salad!

The zucchini and summer squash are coming in fast and furious in the garden, despite the fact that the wretched squash vine borer has had its way with a few of our plants. Grrrr.  This is a delightful pasta salad that you can serve immediately or put in the fridge and eat later.  The origins of the recipe come from the July 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living, but my adaptation is below.  It's a nice change from a traditional pasta salad dressed with a vinaigrette.

Summer Squash Pasta Salad with Honey
Serves 4

1/2 pound gemelli (or other short, tubular pasta)
about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1/4 cup raw almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound summer squashes (about two smallish yellow squash and zucchini), cut into 1/2 inch circles
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking sherry
1 Hungarian hot pepper, ribs and seeds removed and minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain, place in a bowl and stir in two tablespoons of olive oil.  While pasta is cooking, toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, shaking or stirring occasionally until fragrant--about 3 minutes.  Remove from skillet, roughly chop and set aside.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and, over medium-high heat, saute the garlic for a few minutes.  Add the squash, with a sprinkling of salt and saute, turning occasionally, until squash is thoroughly cooked.  Add the toasted almonds and the squash to the pasta and toss.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the honey, bringing to a simmer while stirring.  Add the sherry and Hungarian hot pepper and cook until the mixture reduces a bit but is still runny--about 1 minute.  Pour over the pasta mixture and toss.  Add the minced basil and thyme and taste, adding salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle with a little olive oil.  You can serve this right away or refrigerate and serve later.  Bring it to room temperature before serving.

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