Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Squash Pasta with Arugula, Hazelnuts, and Breadcrumbs

When I'm at the farmer's market - especially in the summer when so much product is at its peak - I tend to go a little overboard and buy large quantities of anything that looks good. Case in point, the 6 summer squash that I picked up this past week. Summer squash is so plentiful (and cheap) right now and in so many fun, different varieties and colors. While they are wonderful simply sauteed with a little olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, I had some arugula on hand as well and thought I'd make a light pasta with all of these ingredients. I've been drawn to pastas at restaurants with breadcrumbs lately - they add such a nice texture and provide for a different "sauce" than pesto or tomatoes. But rather than simply breadcrumbs I decided to add hazelnuts in with the breadcrumbs as well to add a little extra flavor as well as nutritional value. The result: a light, healthy, delicious pasta which highlights the best of some of the great summer produce available now. Note that this recipe is vegan without the parmesan cheese.

Summer Squash Pasta with Arugula, Hazelnuts, and Breadcrumbs
Serves 4

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

1 slice whole wheat bread, roughly torn
1 c. hazelnuts
Extra virgin olive oil
1 to 1 1/4 lb. assorted summer squash or zucchini, halved lenthwise and cut into thin "half moons"
12 oz. linguini or spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
6 c. arugula, chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, put the hazelnuts in a food processor and process until they resemble coarse bread crumbs. Add the bread and process together until the hazelnut crumbs and breadcrumbs are similar in size. Heat a small skillet over medium heat and toast the hazelnut-breadcrumb mixture until fragrant and starting to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add the summer squash, a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute, stirring occassionally, until softened, about 7-10 minutes.

Drain the pasta, and return the empty pasta pot to the burner over low heat. Add 1/4 c. olive oil to the pot and the garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds, then squeeze in the lemon juice. Add the pasta back to the pot as well as1 t. kosher salt and stir to combine. Then, add in the breadcrumbs, squash, and arugula and stir for a minute or two until the arugula wilts slightly and everything combines. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if you'd like.

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