Every summer, my mom would let a few of our zucchini grow to ridiculous size: unwieldy squash a good two feet long, bulbous and awkward, just begging to be used like some medieval weapon by mischievous kids. I think she grew them so large to amuse my sister and me, though I am certain that she was equally entertained by their exaggerated size and shape.
It’s that time of year again: the zucchini vines are prolific and gardens are overrun with gorgeous squash. The surplus can be fatiguing. And that’s why this pasta is so perfect: it’s a completely different approach to summer squash. Dressed with a fresh basil pesto and intensely sweet little cherry tomatoes, it is a simple homage to the pleasures of the season. It tastes especially great outside.
Summer Squash Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto
Yield: 4 servings
4 medium summer squash
2 cups basil leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Using a julienne peeler (or a regular vegetable peeler for wider ribbons), slowly julienne each squash from top to bottom.
Place julienned squash in a large bowl and set aside.
Prepare the pesto: combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse until a coarse pesto forms.
Carefully toss the zucchini and yellow squash with the pesto.
Divide among four plates. Top with the cherry tomatoes and feta cheese.
All photos by Kimberley Hasselbrink.
Kimberley Hasselbrink is a food photographer and blogger based in San Francisco. She is the author of the blog The Year in Food, which is framed around a monthly seasonal food guide. Kimberley enjoys unusual produce, strong coffee, road trips and summer nights.