Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creamy Spring Vegetable Pasta

We had dinner at Foodie’s house this past week. 

It was my turn to cook but I had a massive leak in a stack pipe that needed to be repaired.  When my Irish contractor opened the walls, I did get a glimpse of my kitchen in days gone by!   We won’t say anymore about this mishap except that Foodie agreed to cook.

Good thing.  My house was a mess.

She made Creamy Spring Vegetable Pasta featuring yellow squash.  As we were sitting eating dinner, Architect told us about the lovely squash she has growing her garden.  She explained that she would throw the seeds of squashes past in the compost pile and, what do you know, one day she saw a squash vine develop along with a distinctive and beautiful squash blossom flower.  A few little squashes followed that seemingly grow at the clip of 1/2 inch per day!   Feisty little buggers.

Anyway, the dainty and delicate flowers that escort squash into summer are also edible. The  blossoms are often served fried in a simple batter, but can be stuffed with fresh, creamy cheeses like ricotta or goat cheese and herbs then drizzled with some honey and lemon.  You can also bake the blossoms if you don’t like deep frying.  There are some nice squash blossom recipes on-line too.

Do try this dish.  It is simple, delicious and just perfect for a relaxed summer evening.

Creamy Spring Vegetable Pasta

1 pound of spaghetti or fettuccine
Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 container of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
8 oz of sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste (red pepper flakes would add some zip!)
Juice of one lemon
Lemon zest
3/4 cup heavy cream
Pasta water
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
6 basil leaves, slivered
Note: Peas or asparagus would be nice in this dish too.

Cook the pasta.  Reserve about one cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, add two swirls of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over low heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the squash and sauté for two minutes, then add the tomatoes, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Raise heat to medium high; cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the lemon, lemon zest, cream, and some Parmesan cheese and cook until the cream is heated through and thickens a bit, just a couple of minutes.   Put the pasta in a large bowl, add the vegetable mixture and toss. You can loosen it up a bit with the pasta water.  Grate some more fresh Parmesan cheese on top, add the basil and serve.

A lovely and chilled bottle of Anderra Sauvignon Blanc was perfect with this dish with its citrus, rose blossom-infused and grassy notes….very flavorful, crisp, and fresh.

For dessert, Foodie served pan seared peaches with amaretto.  The sugar in the amaretto turned into the most delectable syrup that she drizzled over the peaches and vanilla ice cream before serving.  Simply decadent and divine.

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