Are you ready for a delicious, fast, and ridiculously easy recipe? Gemelli with Yellow Squash, Peas, and Basil from the July/August 2008 issue of Everyday Food is it. I mentioned last week that I’m trying to work through my pantry items and frozen food in anticipation of our move; this was a “frozen pea” project (and you don’t even have to thaw them!).
I put a large pot of water on to boil while I prepped my ingredients. I quartered 3 medium yellow squash lengthwise and thinly sliced the quarters. I also cut 4 tablespoons of butter into small cubes, squeezed half a lemon to yield 1 tablespoon of juice, grated 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and tore 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves.
When the water reached a boil, I added 8 ounces (about half of a standard box) of gemelli pasta. Two minutes before the pasta finished cooking, I added the squash and peas to the pot. After the final 2 minutes of cooking time had passed, I drained the pasta and vegetables, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
I put the pasta and vegetables back in the pot (but off the heat) and added the cubed butter, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of pasta water. I seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper and tossed it to combine. I added a little more water to make the pasta a bit saucier, stirred in the torn basil, and then sprinkled the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the pasta to serve.
This was so simple and so delicious. Dr. O and I really thought the flavors worked well together. (It’s hard to bring a dish down when it has butter and Parmesan going for it!) I also really liked the texture of the squash; it was crisp-tender and not in the least bit soggy. Add the fact that it can all be thrown together in one pot, and we have a winner!
TIPS: I am the queen of forgetting to reserve pasta water when a recipe calls for it, so I’ve started placing a heatproof bowl in the sink before I even start cooking. That way, the bowl catches most of the pasta water and I can just use a measuring cup to portion out what I need.
Also, since this recipe *is* so simple, it’s another one where seasoning is really important. I think I went through three rounds of adding salt and pepper before I got the flavor I wanted. Go easy… Remember that you can always add more, but it’s pretty hard to get salt out of a dish once you’ve added it.
Recipe link: Gemelli with Yellow Squash, Peas, and Basil