I love this time of year. The gardening season is wrapping up, and we are reaping what we have sown (literally). So much squash, you can't give it away fast enough. One of my favorite ways to use up squash is tossed in a simple pasta.
In this orecchiette pasta recipe, crispy bacon and yellow summer squash get tossed in a bright, lemony sauce with oodles of garlic and butter. It's finished, of course, with a generous handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and light pinch of crushed red pepper flake.
It's light and full of the best end-of-summer flavors, with a slight heat. It's delicious.
Not to mention, this gorgeous pasta dish comes together in about 20 minutes! What more could one ask for.
Begin by slicing about 12 ounces worth of bacon strips, into 1 inch pieces and fry in a large skillet. While the bacon is getting crispy, bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil, and cook the orecchiette according to al dente package directions, minus one minute. The reason for this is that we add it back to the pan later, and we don't want it getting overcooked on us.
When the pasta has finished cooking, grab a half cup full of starchy pasta water before draining and set aside.
Once the bacon is good and crispy, place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil and remove any bacon grease from the skillet.
To that skillet, add a half stick of butter and 8 cloves of fresh, minced garlic. I really urge you to use the fresh stuff, the pre-minced jarred garlic just does not compare; and the garlic aroma and flavor is one of the main components of this dish.
When the butter is toasty and the garlic is fragrant, add one half cup of dry white wine. (Anyone who knows me, or knows any of my pasta recipes, knows this is one of my favorite events in life--the whooshing sound of deglazing a pan. I cannot get enough.) Keeping the pan on the same level of heat, let the alcohol cook out of the wine, and the flavors marry a little by simmering about 5 minutes.
Things should look a little less translucent, and slightly thicker, so add the cut squash, pasta, starchy water and bacon. Toss over heat for another minute, so that all the flavors coat the pasta and squash and the pasta finishes cooking.
Remove the pan of pasta from heat, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the entire pan. Sprinkle a cupful of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of red pepper flake, and toss again. Using freshly grated cheese off the block, and not the pre-grated cheese from the bag will give you better results. Pre shredded cheese has anti-caking ingredients and it doesn't melt correctly, so you won't get the creaminess that you will by grating it fresh. It's worth the extra 30 seconds to grate by hand, trust me.
Serve this with extra cheese and crushed red pepper, and a glass of white wine, and enjoy.
Orecchiette with Summer Squash and Bacon
- 12 oz orecchiette pasta
- 12 ounces bacon sliced into 1 inch pieces
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- ½ stick butter
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 cups yellow crookneck squash or similar (cut into half moons)
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus more for serving
- pinch crushed red pepper flake
- Bring large stockpot of salted water to a boil, cook pasta according to al dente cooking directions, minus one minute (pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.)
- Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain, and wipe excess grease out of pan.
- In the same pan, add butter and garlic and saute on medium high heat until butter begins to toast and garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add squash, bacon, and cooked pasta and toss over heat for a minute.
- Remove from heat, sprinkle a cup full of parmesan cheese, juice of lemon, and red pepper flake. Toss again.
- Serve with extra parmesan cheese.