Tag Archives: zucchini

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 🙂

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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!

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Squash and Zucchini Marinara

When I planned my kitchen garden this year, I greatly underestimated the amount of sunlight my little corner of the yard would get over the course of the summer. As a result it’s flush with pole beans, mustard greens, beets, spinach and chard (although the last two never grew, argh!), instead of tomatoes, cukes, and summer squash.

Sometime in July I noticed some suspicious “weeds” in the soil, but since I’d been away for a week I actually noticed that their leaves looked a lot like those characteristic of squash (and zucchini, and pumpkins, and everything else in the Cucurbita family). HALLELUJAH!

They haven’t actually developed fruit yet, probably because of the incredibly rainy first half of the summer, but it put me in the mood for summer squash. This dish is one of my favorite ways to do several things: use summer squash, eat warm vegetables, and pretend to eat lots and lots of guilt-free pasta.

The trick is to slice the squash and zucchini with a vegetable peeler, then leave the inner seed-y cores for another meal. It takes a couple of minutes per squash to make the “pasta.”

Kiki loved this part of our meal last week and I should have posted this a while ago so she could make it at home. Props go to Mike for the recipe, of course, who came up with this last winter (or at least shared it with me then).

Squash and Zucchini Marinara
Serves 4-6

~2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 red onion, diced
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can petite diced tomatoes, juice reserved
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried basil (Italian seasoning mix would work, too)
Capful of vermouth or vodka
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 oz. shaved Parmesan

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of a 2-quart saucepan until shimmering, then saute onion and shallot with a few pinches of salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes and saute for about 2 minutes, then add reserved juice, crushed tomatoes, dried basil, vermouth, and a few more pinches of salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.

While simmering sauce, create squash and zucchini pasta by slicing thin with a vegetable peeler. Reserve the seed-y cores for another meal.

When sauce is almost done, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan. Add squash and zucchini and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add sauce to pan and toss to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then serve with shaved Parmesan.

Adding salt, pepper, and other seasonings is best when done in “layers.” In other words, add flavor every time you add a “set” of ingredients.