Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Recipe: Summer Squash 'Pasta' with Ricotta



I’m hesitant to even write a description for this recipe because no combination of words will do it justice. You really just have to try it. If one ingredient banana ice cream was culinary magic, then this is pure wizardry.

As soon as I heard about this technique from one of our good family friends (hi Poker Group!) I knew my vegetable peeler would be getting a workout in no time. A quick 20 minutes of peeling, sautéing, and tossing later I had a bowl of creamy, silky squash ‘noodles’ that packed a flavor punch thanks to the red pepper flakes and slivered garlic. And I can tell you this, it looked a heck of a lot prettier twirled around a fork than any gluten-laden fettuccini.

This dish will please Celiacs, carb-aphobes, vegetarians and dare I say pasta-lovers alike. It tastes as incredible as it looks. Promise.

Note: Summer squash has a thinner, more palatable skin than winter squash. So make this while they’re in season!

Ingredients
3 medium summer squashes (combo of yellow squash & green zucchini)
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered (heirloom if available)
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (can substitute mascarpone or goat cheese)
Handful fresh basil, chiffonaded
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Recipe
Using a vegetable peeler, peel one strip off of the first squash, lengthwise. Discard first strip (since it’s all skin). Rotating the squash, continue peeling the squash so each strip has a thin sliver of skin. Once there is no skin left, use the peeler to slice around the remainder of the squash until you hit the seeds. Repeat with other two squashes.

In a large pan over medium heat, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Once the garlic starts to turn golden, add the slivers of squash and a dash of salt and pepper. Using tongs, toss to coat and drizzle a little more oil if the squash looks dry. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the slivers start to wilt. At this point, add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and immediately stir in ricotta and fresh basil. Use the tongs to work the ricotta into a sauce, ensuring each strand of squash is coated.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

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