Lemon and browned butter garlic sauce, with a touch of white wine for richness, and colorful green zucchini and yellow squash half moon slices tossed in fettuccine pasta, and finished with a shower of freshly grated Parmesan.
This pasta dish can easily be made into a more filling meal by simply adding some grilled chicken or shrimp. That means you can cook up a chicken breast (or shrimp), dice it up and toss it in with the veggies and not have to worry about a side dish, because everything is right there in the pasta.
Tonight I went with chicken, and I heated my cast iron pan up in a 450 degree oven before placing the chicken breast on it; it gave some nice extra crunchy browning action on the chicken, that adds lots of flavor. Before putting it in the oven, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over both sides of the chicken breast, and generously salt and pepper it. I like to use coarse pepper with this one. While the chicken is cooking, bring your pasta water (salted) to a full boil. Between the time it takes to come to boil, plus the time it takes to cook the pasta, your chicken should be done about the same time, 20 minutes-ish. Drain the pasta, and reserve around ½ cup of pasta water; just scoop it out and eyeball it. Pull the chicken out when its done and let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, without cutting it during this time. This makes it juicier. While the chicken rests, heat your pan with the butter and garlic at medium high heat, and saute until butter browns. Be careful because the line from browned to burned is thin. I know how easy it is to accidentally cross that line in a snap.
You gotta use real butter, by the way. Margarine or imitations won't work. You will know when the butter is perfectly browned because it will smell nutty and sweet. Then you add the wine, reduce it by about half, which is around a 5-minute simmer. Finally, everything gets tossed into that pan and the magic happens. The pasta water allows the sauce to stick to the noodles, the zucchini and squash get just tender enough, and you make that Parmesan cheese rain over it all. Make. It. Rain.
I like to squeeze the other half of lemon over the dish right before serving and give it a final toss. This dish is a stunner and a delicious family meal, all in under 30 minutes.