Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fresh From the Garden: Linguini with Summer Squash

I’m still harvesting my last squash from the vines (and beginning to get sad that my plants are starting to fade) and was lucky enough to get a few zucchini from my friend’s garden to make this simple and fresh pasta dish. Perfect for summer and an easy, two-pot meal that makes for easy clean up too!

The beginning of a colorful meal!
You'll need:
½ box whole wheat linguini
3-4 small chicken breasts, optional
2 yellow squash
2 zucchini
½ small red onion, optional
8-10 small mushrooms, optional
4-8 cloves fresh garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
8 basil leaves (or 1 tsp. dried basil)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
2 pinches of Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the pasta. While the water is heating and the pasta is cooking, prepare your ingredients by following the next two steps. When pasta is al dente (just barely soft), drain in colander and leave at the side. Save the pot for use later.

If you choose to include chicken, cut it into bite-sized pieces and season with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. If you'd rather not prepare it on the stove, you can throw it on the grill and add it later.

Roughly slice squash and zucchini (cut of both ends, then cut in half lengthwise, then slice to create slices that are half-moon shaped). Slice onion, and mushrooms if desired. Remove garlic from peel by pressing with the side of the knife blade and peeling.  Press again once peeled, then dice. Heat a large skillet on medium, drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil lightly across the bottom and swirl to spread. Add chicken bites to the pan. Turn once the sides begin to turn opaque (white). When all sides are opaque, add zucchini, squash, onion, mushrooms and half the garlic. Turn occasionally. When squash begins to soften and lightly brown, add salt, pepper and half the basil. Turn off heat.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium saucepan (that was used for the pasta) on medium heat. Add remaining garlic, salt, pepper and basil. Heat, while stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes. Add pasta and mix gently until coated. Add squash mixture and fold gently.  Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Enjoy along side a vegetable salad.

Serves 3-4.