Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meatless Monday - Pappardelle With Summer Squash & Arugula

Hot on the heels of a fun-filled summer weekend, Monday can be a cruel mistress indeed. The good news is that you can always lift your spirits by serving up a delicious and easy meal in minutes. As you know, we try to make *many* of our Monday dinners meatless, and yesterday was no different. We tossed together a very tasty farmers market-sourced veggie pasta using a recipe from my latest Food & Wine Magazine as inspiration.

It combines thinly sliced Summer Squash and Zucchini with Arugula Pesto. Finish with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and you have yourself a much better Monday.

Pappardelle With Summer Squash & Arugula, Photo: NK

I lightly adapted the original dish both for ease (I had no desire to take out and later have to clean my food processor to create the Arugula Pesto component) and to make it nut free. Can you have a nut free pesto? Sure. In most cases, cooks will substitute seeds (Sunflower being a popular choice). I didn't even bother to add a nut-stand-in and, happily, the taste was just lovely anyway. If you want to be technical, you could call this dish a crudaiola, as all the vegetable ingredients that top the pasta are uncooked. 

Before we start, here's why I love this recipe and the adaptation I created:

IT'S FAST- Pappardelle is an egg-based pasta (though the shape is sometimes seen in egg-free format). If you've ever added Egg Noodles to a stew, you know that they cook in 3 or 4 minutes. It's the same idea here, making an already fast recipe (neither the Zucchini or Squash are cooked) even speedier. Note: If you can't find Pappardelle and opt for a more ubiquitous pasta, Fettucine (another wide and long noodle), would be a perfectly fine choice. 

IT'S A ONE POT MEAL- After you drain the pasta, use the same pot to toss all the ingredients together. 


and finally, NO ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES NEEDED. I make hand cut pestos (with or without nuts) all the time because they are a great, rustic way to get the Pesto experience without having to clean yet another kitchen appliance (not that it's such a big deal, but you know, sometimes you just aren't in the mood). 

NOTE: If you happen to own a mandoline you'll be able to make very thin, uniform slices quite easily, but if you prefer to cut by hand, that would be just fine too ( I recommend cutting the long ribbons of Squash and Zucchini into halves or thirds if they do not end up as thin as you would like). This basic slicer or "handheld mandoline" is a useful and very economical tool to have in your kitchen. Another option would be to use a vegetable peeler to shave off thin slices.

Ok - here we go. 

Pappardelle With Summer Squash & Arugula
Lightly Adapted from Food & Wine 
Serves 4

4 Cups Packed Baby or Regular Arugula Leaves

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for drizzling

1 teaspoon finely minced Garlic (or passed through a garlic press) approx. 2 large Cloves

1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese + a few shavings for garnish

Coarse Sea Salt

Black Pepper

1 medium Zucchini and 1-2 medium Yellow Squash, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a Mandoline or by hand. Alternately you can use a large vegetable peeler to create thin ribbons (point away from your hand).

3 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice 

Zest of 1 Lemon 

1.This comes together quickly, have you prepped all your ingredients as above?  
Slice all vegetables, mince the Arugula as small as you can and crush or finely mince the Garlic. Zest and juice the Lemon and grate the Parmigiano Cheese.

2. In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the Pappardelle according to package directions until just al dente. Turn the flame off and drain the pasta, reserving a few Tablespoons of the pasta water, and return drained pasta to the pot. 

3. Add the minced Garlic to the Oil and stir. Sprinkle the Minced Arugula all over the pasta, tossing as you go. Add the Squash and Zucchini Ribbons and toss again. Drizzle the Oil and Garlic over it all and continue to toss. Add the Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest. Toss. Finally, incorporate the Parmigiano, folding into the Pasta as you go. Use the reserved Pasta Water if you'd like a looser. Taste and then season to your liking with Coarse Sea Salt (I like to use French Grey Salt) and ample Black Pepper. Serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of Parmigiano. Enjoy!!!

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