I had to name this dish Company Pasta, because the first time we ate it, it was made by our dear friend Michael from Koinonia. He is a great cook, and was super sweet to get excited about cooking a vegetarian dish for our family. He wrote about it here.
The first bite I took I was so hooked…it was some of the most delicious pasta I had ever tasted! The key–like most pasta dishes– is in the sauce. The sauce is an oil-garlic sauce seasoned with fresh herbs, lemon zest, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes & vegetables. It is amazing.
I have made the dish myself several times since, and have served it to company twice here at our home.
The first time I served it was to my in-laws. They have a beautiful home with a pool, so most family gatherings happen over there. The only downside to that is they don’t get invited to our homes as much, as we are always going to their awesome home. I decided that needed to change, and took advantage of Father’s Day to have them over for dinner and make my Father-in-Law a homemade meal.
We just recently had company from out-of-town, and I pulled this pasta recipe out again. They have kids around the same ages as our girls, and I knew I couldn’t go wrong with pasta. While this was cooking their boys came into the kitchen saying “MMMmmm something smells so good!”
The big bowl of pasta that I made was empty by the end of our meal, a sure sign that everyone enjoyed it. This time I served the pasta with bread, a big spinach salad, and had Chocolate Berry Cupcakes for dessert. I wrote about our amazing time with our dear friends in the Chocolate Berry Cupcake recipe post.
I get out my large cutting board, pour a glass of wine, turn on some music, and sit at the table and prepare all my ingredients. This dish reminds me of something you would find in Italy, with most ingredients freshly picked from the garden. The leisure lifestyle of Italy causes me to sit and enjoy the process of making this dish, taking in the textures, the aroma & the sound of the sizzle of onions and the soft simmer of the sauce.
Too often we are in a hurry to get dinner made. Start early and slow down. If you are making for company, get them involved in the process.
When I make it, I get out my large cutting board, pour a glass of wine, turn on some music, and sit at the table and prepare all my ingredients. This sauce comes together in a hurry once all the ingredients are prepped, so sit and enjoy time together while chopping, chatting, and sipping on wine.
Try this pasta. It will make your taste buds very happy.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, zested then cut in half & juiced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 red pepper, diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cup vegetable broth (or 1/2 cup vegetable broth 1/2 cup white wine)
1 small to medium yellow squash, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp. dried herbs (any grill seasoning. I use 21 salute seasoning from Trader Joes–or just some dried oregano & basil)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (I use Trader Joe’s brand, it is in a jar and packed in oil)
1 lb pasta, any shape you like
salt & pepper to taste
fresh basil (optional)
parmesan cheese (optional)
Chop onion, zest lemon, cut lemon & juice, peel & slice garlic, slice squash, cut pepper, chop sun-dried tomatoes. Gather the rest of the ingredients–oil, sugar, spices, herbs, pasta, balsamic vinegar, wine & parmesan.
Heat oil over medium heat. Add lemon juice. Add the onion..if it doesn’t sizzle turn the heat up just a bit. Let onion soften and turn a translucent. Give it some time and stir occasionally. Add sugar & let onion caramelize a bit. It is ready once the edges are brown and the onion is soft and sweet.
Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar. Add red pepper and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes until red pepper is soft. Don’t let garlic burn.
Add the vegetable broth and wine (if using). Add squash & herb seasoning. Let cook until squash is tender, but not mushy..about another 5-7 minutes…stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, put the pasta on to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Boil according to package directions. Drain and keep warm…may toss with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking together.
Back To The Sauce:
Once the squash has cooked, add the sun-dried tomato, lemon zest and fresh basil if using. Stir. This is the last step of the sauce, other than seasoning with salt and pepper.
**Seasoning is key! Salt the sauce, taste, then salt some more if needed. You will find it needs quite a bit of salt, as all those veggies need seasoning. Go slow, don’t add too much. But…if your taste buds are not amazed by the flavor of the sauce then it needs more salt. Salt brings this dish together & brings out all the layers of flavor.
Let the basil wilt a bit, just a minute, then pour sauce onto the pasta and toss. Top with parmesan cheese if desired.