Monday, June 20, 2011

Squash & Fresh Basil Pasta

Sometimes I make concoctions and they are just that... concoctions that fill our belly for the evening and are never repeated again. But sometimes I make concoctions are so good that they get jotted down and find their way on here to become favorites, once-in-a-while treats, or weekly dishes. This was one of those lucky dishes that got jotted down because it was so tasty & fresh. It will definitely be making it's way back to our table this summer, especially if our garden produces us a good harvest of summer squash!

So, I was so tempted to keep adding to this recipe, I wanted to add white wine and I contemplated adding a "dressing", but it was so light and simple the way it was, I just left it alone. It's a simple, light, low-maintence pasta that could be whipped up with a few ingredients, ones that you could easily have on hand like I did tonight. I was too tired to go to the store, so I found a bag of pasta, defrosted a package of chicken, and joyfully took out the bunch of basil and yummy squash that we got in our CSA box this morning. And here's what we came up with:

1 lb. brown rice penne pasta
2 chicken breasts, cubed
3-4 large squash
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, juiced
*** optional: a large handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Grape Seed Oil
s & p
** If you have any cherry tomatoes on hand that need to be eaten, you could toss those in too- that was a yummy addition the following day!

Boil your water and cook your penne pasta per directions on the bag. Drain and set aside in a large bowl. Chop a sweet onion and add it to a hot pan that has a drizzle of grape seed oil in it and saute the onion for a few minutes, adding 2 cloves of garlic. After sauteing your onion for 2- 3 minutes, add your cubed chicken and cook it until it's brown (you may need to add another splash of oil once your chicken is in the pan). Season your chicken with s & p. When your chicken is nicely browned, add it to the large bowl with the cooked pasta. Next, add another drizzle of oil to the same pan and add your chopped squash (I used one large yellow crooked-neck squash, one huge green zucchini, and one big yellow patty pan squash). Add another clove of garlic and some s & p to your squash while it cooks. Cook that for 3 minutes or so then add the squash along with it's juices left in the pan to your bowl of pasta along with your parmesan cheese (mine was a heaping 1 cup) and your 1/2 cup fresh, chopped basil. Then squeeze your half of a lemon right over the top, toss, check the seasoning (s & p), and serve!

** This will make a lot of pasta, perfect for left overs or large groups! Add a little more oil or lemon juice when re-serving if it seems too dry.
FYI: here's a picture of "Patty Pan Squash" ... I didn't know it's official name.... I always refer to it as UFO Squash... but I guess it has a real name it would like to be known as!

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