Summer is in full swing and so are the farmers markets. It’s a joy to walk around and see all the juicy peaches, luscious strawberries, plump eggplants, and many colors, shapes and sizes of peppers and squash. Much as I like Summer squash, I’m even more crazy about their younger selves—squash blossoms. They are wonderful stuffed and fried, in frittata, risotto, in quesadillas and of course, with pasta.
I am a pasta maniac and swear I could eat a pound of it in one sitting. But I’ve been experimenting lately and I’ve found I can be satisfied with a whole lot less pasta if I add a lot of other ingredients. This recipe is a perfect example. It has plenty of vegetables and just a little pasta. It uses very few ingredients so use the absolute best you can get from either your garden or a farmers market.
Squash blossoms are very delicate and I like this technique of just blanching them in the pasta water rather than sauteeing them. Many recipes use to many other strong flavored ingredients such as herbs, spices or other vegetables which I think is a mistake. Simpler is better to let the squash blossoms shine. This dish is my version of a recipe I found from Rocco DiSpirito. Mine is lighter and healthier and weighted more towards the vegetables than the pasta. I use whole grain pasta, but you certainly don’t have to if you prefer another kind. Note: Only use sweet and “squishy ripe” tomatoes. Yellow ones would be nice too instead of red.
Squash Blossom Pasta
2 cups whole grain pasta such as rotini
1/4 cup extra-virgin or olio nuovo olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or smashed
2 cups squished fresh juicy tomatoes
4 cups squash blossoms, stamens removed, and torn
1⁄4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the garlic, and sauté over low heat until the garlic is soft and golden but not brown. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until very thick and saucy.
When the pasta is just barely al dente, add the squash blossoms to the pot, and stir. Scoop out the pasta and squash blossoms with a strainer and add to the pan with the tomatoes, adding a little of the cooking liquid. Continue cooking until the liquid has been absorbed and squash blossoms wilted. Off the heat season with Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt to taste.