Summer squash just spells out sunshine in my eyes. Could it be the yellow color? Of course. It’s a happy color. It makes you smile. What else makes me smile is seeing local yellow squash on sale for 99 cents a pound at the grocery store. I knew then I had to make this spicy summer squash dish. I chose to use angel hair pasta, but you can use your favorite long shaped pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, or bucatini. It’s totally up to you! This makes the perfect vegetarian dish since it’s packed with protein from the beans. You could even add a piece of grilled chicken or broccoli. You can serve this dish as a side dish or a main entree. Lots of possibilities to make it your own.
Trim the ends of the squash and cut the squash into 1/2 inch rounds.
These squash rounds are spicy. If you want to cut back on the heat, use only 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Fill the pan with one single layer of the squash. Don’t move the squash. Let it cook on one side only. Cook in batches, if all the squash doesn’t fit the pan.
The red pepper flakes will brown after cooking the squash awhile. No worries! It doesn’t compromise the flavor at all. It just doesn’t look all that pretty. Reduce the heat to medium-low if the oil starts to splatter.
Once the garlic becomes fragrant in the pan, the beans and squash are added to the pan and coated with the oil and garlic. Add a pinch of salt to the squash. It will need it from the spiciness from the red pepper flakes.
Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water before adding the pasta. The salt adds flavor to the pasta.
Angel Hair with Spicy Summer Squash and White Beans
adapted from Molto Batali
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes (see note below)
2 medium sized yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (16oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 pound angel hair pasta (see note below)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
In a large saute pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive, and heat the pan over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and spread them evenly in the pan. Add the squash, placing each round face down in a single layer to cover the entire pan. You may have to cook the squash in batches if there isn’t enough room in the pan for all of the squash. Cook the squash (without moving them) until golden brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs or a fork, transfer the cooked squash to a plate. Cook the remaining squash facedown in a single layer for another 4 to 5 minutes if necessary. If the red pepper flakes start to smoke or burn, reduce the heat to medium-low. (I have a gas stove and had to reduce the heat when cooking the second batch of squash). Transfer the remaining cooked squash to the plate and set aside.
In the same saute pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add the beans, reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow the beans to warm through about 5 minutes. Add the squash back to the pan and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Using a large stock pot, bring the pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the pasta to the boiling water, and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. (Angel hair cooks about 3 minutes). When the pasta is almost done, add 2 tablespoons of pasta water to the squash mixture. Drain the pasta in a colander, and add the pasta to the squash mixture. Warm the pan over medium heat, and toss the pasta with the squash mixture about 30 seconds until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Add the parsley and toss again. Remove the pan from heat. Season with more salt to taste.
Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and serve the breadcrumbs alongside for sprinkling on top of the pasta.
Note: Use 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for less heat and spiciness.
Note: You can use any long shaped pasta such as spaghetti or bucatini.