Category Archives: pasta

Orzo with Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Almonds

My favorite part of having a successful summer garden a few years ago was the prolific summer squash plant. I eat summer squash like there is no tomorrow, every summer. I made this light-ish dinner this weekend to get through the heat (it’s great served cold). I also realized that my new apartment does not have a microwave, so I had to eat cold anyway 🙂


A deep, seasoned cast-iron worked well for this recipe. Mine is about 12″ across and it fit everything, though I did halve the recipe. Start the orzo water and preheat the oven for the almonds before you start prepping the squash/zucchini. If the orzo is done way before the rest, that’s okay; be sure to cook it al dente so it doesn’t get too soft once you add it to the rest of the food. Toast the almonds then turn off the oven, since you won’t need it again.

Orzo with Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Almonds
Adapted from Orzo with Summer Squash and Toasted Hazelnuts on Epicurious. I’ll try hazelnuts next time. Also note the dice size of the zucchini and summer squash–smaller than you might expect, but it makes for better cooking time.

3/4 cup orzo
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/3-inch dice
~ 1/2 teaspoon salt
~ 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
~1 tsp dried parsley
~1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
~2 teaspoons lemon juice (lemon zest would definitely be better)

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Cook orzo in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain orzo in a colander. While orzo is cooking, toast almonds (6-8 minutes).

While orzo and almonds are cooking, heat butter and oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté onion, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, salt, and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nuts, parsley, basil, and lemon juice.

Add cooked orzo to skillet and stir gently. If mixture seems dry, moisten with some reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I ate my leftovers with chopped up cold chicken breast and it was great together!


Pumpkin Gnocchi

I bought a sugar pumpkin at Shaw’s last weekend because it looked so cute and was something like 69 cents/pound. I made pumpkin cookies from canned puree last weekend for a brunch, but they weren’t that great and I thought I’d save posting that recipe until I found a way to improve it.

I settled on pumpkin gnocchi for the raw pumpkin; it would also be my first foray into making my own pumpkin puree. Of course my calling it “gnocchi” was a bit of a lightning rod in this house, since Mike kept insisting that gnocchi isn’t gnocchi unless it’s made with potatoes, and I seriously needed help because I had no idea what the dough was supposed to be like.

This recipe is extremely approximate, because your pumpkin may be differently sized and I didn’t actually think to weigh my pumpkin before cooking it OR to weigh/measure the puree after making it. So consider it a lesson in “cooking by feel” instead of cooking as an exact science. It also takes into account the fact that your ingredients will change depending on the weather. It was rainy yesterday, so I probably used more flour than you would on a hot dry day in Arizona.

I ate these with a quick sauce of lightly browned butter with garlic and dried sage. In the future I think i’d use a bit of cream and some fresh sage, and definitely sprinkle with some parmesan.

I LOVED the color of the cut pumpkins an the puree. Check these out:

All in all, I guess this is sort of a halfway-there post. A work in progress! A masterpiece in the making! I still think it’s worth trying out though, for funs and for the sake of using pumpkin in a new way.

And it looks cool, too!

Pumpkin Gnocchi
Project inspired by my new favorite food blog, CSA Delivery. Recipe adapted from Cookography’s Pumpkin Gnocchi. Pumpkin puree technique from The Kitchn’s advice on making pumpkin puree.

1 sugar pumpkin
Olive oil
3 cups flour (to start!)
1 egg

1. To make pumpkin puree: remove pumpkin stem (easiest just to snap it off), then quarter pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and stringy parts. Bake quarters, inside-up, on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes (can vary from 45-90 based on thickness of pumpkin flesh). Remove from oven and turn the pumpkins down, reassembling halves, then return to oven for another 10 minutes. The flesh should be soft when pressed with a fork. Peel skin off using a spoon (like with ginger), then remove leftover stringy bits. Break up into pieces and process in food processor until smooth, consistent texture. Press puree through a mesh sieve into a mixing bowl.

2. Add flour and spices to puree and mix until dough forms. You may need to add a lot more flour depending on the moisture of the pumpkin and the environment. It should be a soft dough, but not sticky. Divide the dough into 6-8 evenly sized balls and roll each out into a 1-inch thick rope. Gently press each rope with fork tines (to make texture), then cut each rope into 1-inch wide pieces.

3. Add the gnocchi to a pot of boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Drain and serve with sauce.