Of all the lovely ways there are to prepare summer squash, I never tire of pairing it with pasta, partly because I love what they do for one another and partly because the possibilities are practically endless.
Whether it's zucchini or our own delicate yellow crooknecks, their silky texture and subtly sweet flavor make a fine sauce for practically any pasta shape.
So when I came by some beautiful and fresh small yellow squash at the farmers' market, at least one of them was sure to end up in a bowl of pasta. And with lots of basil and parsley at hand in the garden and a few bright, fresh scallions from our neighborhood market, it really didn't take much to bring bring it together.
Pasta with Yellow Summer Squash, Scallions, and Herbs
If you can't get yellow summer squash, this would also work with very small, freshly picked zucchini. If you're cooking for more than one, just multiply everything except the butter by the number of servings, increasing that only by half.
1 medium yellow summer squash
2 small scallions
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces small tubular pasta such as elbows (my choice), pennette, or even ditalini
5-6 basil leaves, washed and patted dry
1 healthy sprig parsley
2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Wash the squash and scallions under cold running water, drain, and pat dry. Trim the squash and slice it as thinly as possible, cutting the fattest part of it in half before slicing. Thinly slice the scallions, keeping the white and thick pale green parts separate from the darker greens.
2. Put at least 2 quarts of water in a large (3-3½ quart) saucepan. Cover and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Meanwhile, put a tablespoon of the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed pan, scatter in the white and pale green parts of the scallion, and then add the squash. Sprinkle lightly with salt and bring it to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash are tender, about 5-7 minutes. The squash will throw off its liquid: don't let it completely evaporate. If it does before the vegetables are tender, add a spoonful of water to the pan. Turn off the heat.
3. When the pot of water is boiling, add a small handful of salt and stir in the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, using the package directions as a rough guide. Start checking for doneness 2 minutes before the recommended cooking time—it may take less time than suggested, or it could take longer.
4. When the pasta is almost done, return the squash to low heat and coarsely chop the basil and parsley. When the pasta is done, lightly drain and put it into a pasta bowl or large soup plate. Add the squash and scallions, herbs, and the rest of the butter. Toss rapidly until the pasta is evenly coated and mixed with the squash, then sprinkle in 1 heaped tablespoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toss, add a little more cheese, then give it one last toss and serve.