I’ve been a little zucchini obsessed lately. I can’t stop buying them and they disappear as soon as they make it in the kitchen. I’ve sautéed them, I’ve gone back to my favorite feta and dill stuffed ones, and I’ve come across this recipe which I’ve made at least three times. I know, a recipe repeated? Several times at the expense of others? But there’s something soft and comforting and bright and cheery about this meal. And best of all, it lets the seasonal favorites: summer squash and zucchini shine.
I’m also taking a break from the traditional tomato-based pasta sauces – I’ve been craving creamy cheeses like ricotta and goat cheese. And lemon, lots of lemon. I cannot get enough of it. Lemon is my constant water companion; I drizzle it over my salads and fish; and make sorbets out of it. I add it to fruit in pies to make the fruit stand out more. Lucky for me, the local grocer offers lemons in bulk and at the rate I’m buying them, is probably thinking I’m running my own lemonade stand.
A few weeks ago, I once again, brought home my current favorite loot. But I didn’t quite have a plan, and after staring at the contents of my fridge for a few minutes my vegetables, I had a brilliant plan. I first sautéed a shallot with a garlic clove and then added sliced zucchini and summer squash. The whole thing came together quickly, beautifully and I have to say that for a week night meal, after you get home from a crazed day at the office, this is perfection at its best. I even served this to the book club ladies two nights later. Never one to hoard food, I was a little wistful that none was left over for the following night.
Pasta with Goat Cheese, Zucchini and Summer Squash
Inspired by Bon Appetit, June 2009
A few glugs of olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic cloves chopped in a few thick pieces
1 zucchini sliced in 1/8 inch thick circles
1 summer squash sliced in 1/8 inch thick circles
1 round goat cheese – ok, I failed to measure mine, but the amount would have filled 1 cup measure
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp (or more if you want more flavor) herbes de Provence
1 lb fresh pasta
Juice from the zested lemon
In a sauté pan, on medium heat, cook the shallot and garlic, until the shallot is softer and translucent about 5 minutes. Add the squash and zucchini and maybe add a bit more olive oil, if the mixture looks a bit dry.
While the vegetables were sautéing, make a paste with goat cheese, lemon zest, olive oil and herbes de Provence, while also waiting for the water for pasta to heat. Once the vegetables are ready and removed from heat, and the cheese paste is made, cook the pasta. While you don’t have to use fresh pasta (boxed will do in a pinch!) I recommend fresh pasta if you can get your hands on it. It’s a truly sublime thing. I’m lucky to live in close proximity to lots of Italian stores and so fresh pasta is quite plentiful. Just keep in mind that dry pasta tends to cook longer (check the instructions on the box) whereas fresh pasta tends to cook faster.
When the pasta is done, drain it and dump it back in the pot. Add the cooked vegetables and the goat cheese paste and mix quickly. Taste and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
This should serve roughly 4 people.