Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette

Make this simple weeknight pasta when you have a bounty of summer squash. With just 10 ingredients, it's fresh, bright & satisfying.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette

You still have tons of zucchini right? Ok, I thought so, just checking. If you don’t, you can use this recipe as a template for whatever vegetable you do have (ie. broccoli would be delicious here). It’s a straight-forward simple pasta recipe – perfect for highlighting a special seasonal ingredient like summer squash.

My zucchini and yellow summer squash were on the small side, so I sliced them into thin little coins and paired them with orecchiette pasta. I like how the shape of the summer squash and the shape of the pasta are somewhat similar. It makes for a nice “easy-to-get-it-all-on-your-fork” sort of texture.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette

Rosemary isn’t super summery, but it’s what I had on hand and it’s flavor contrasts the lemon nicely. If you’ve been more successful with your herb-growing, feel free to switch it up – thyme, basil, or mint would all be delicious here. If you use leafy herbs, just be sure to add them closer to the end so they stay fresh and bright.

Orecchiette pasta recipes

Make the Summer Squash Pasta (it’s so easy!)

  1. Sauté the summer squash
  2. Add the pasta to the skillet
  3. Add the greens and a big squeeze of lemon juice
  4. Stir in feta, capers, and red pepper flakes. For a vegan option, add pesto instead.
  5. Season to taste and dig in!

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette

Summer Squash Recipes

If you still have summer squash left after you make this pasta, try this zucchini bread, this pasta salad, this baked zucchini, or this pizza next.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This lemony summer squash pasta is a great easy summer meal! If you don't have summer squash on hand, another seasonal vegetable would be equally delicious.
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 3 small summer squash (or 2 medium)
  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups chopped spinach or (or chard or kale)
  • Juice of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • ⅓ cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • A few pinches red pepper flakes
  • grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • Sea salt & fresh black pepper
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice squash, about ⅛ inch thick (on a mandoline if you have one). Lay squash slices on a towel and pat dry.
  2. Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
  3. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and rosemary. Stir until fragrant, then add the sliced squash, salt and pepper. Stir, then let the squash cook on each side until lightly browned.
  4. Stir in the lemon juice, then add the spinach and toss. Add the pasta along with a bit of the starchy pasta cooking water.
  5. Stir in feta, capers and red pepper flakes. Season to taste and add Parmesan cheese, more lemon juice, and drizzles of olive oil, as desired.
Notes
Vegan option: skip the cheese and serve with dollops of pesto.

 

Stainless sauté pan: Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen Stainless Cookware

47 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

    • jeanine
      08.12.2014

      one of my favorite combos!

  1. I don’t eat pasta myself, but I really like how pretty the yellow and green squash look together. This may be my dinner tonight … lol

    • jeanine
      08.12.2014

      ha – I don’t eat it a ton but every now and then (especially when I can pack in lots of veggie!)

  2. i don’t have summer squash, but i have about one thousand million trillion gazillion billion buttercup squashes that are taking over my entire yard, it is insane and i am afraid for the day that they will all be ripe at the exact same time. putting this recipe in my back pocket until then. i love me some orecchiette 🙂

  3. mari from idreamofsushi.com
    08.11.2014

    i was gifted a summer squash literally the size of a small child recently….i will be trying this!

  4. Oh trust me I have toooons of zucchini 🙂 This looks gorgeous and orecchiette is a favorite in my house!

  5. Oy, I now want this for dinner. This sounds so yummy, and fresh and summery – and the perfect recipe for my monster zucchini. Thank you!

  6. Although I don’t eat a ton of pasta, this looks beautiful! You can never have too much zucchini and I love the idea of adding pesto to the mix!

  7. This is so perfect for the tiny zucchini I have hanging out in my fridge, love! I love the idea of ‘get it all on your fork’ dish, this is a real problem : )

    • jeanine
      08.12.2014

      ha, thanks 🙂

  8. We’ve got SO many zucchini’s in our garden. So simple, easy and fresh. Can’t wait to make this!

    • jeanine
      08.12.2014

      Thanks Catherine 🙂

  9. I love orecchiette! It’s one of my favorite pasta shapes. 🙂 This looks delicious! I’ll definitely make it the next time I buy orecchiette.

  10. I love everything about this pasta. Yes there’s still a ton of zucchini around here and I am definitely going to make this before summer is over.

  11. I cannot wait to make this!! So simple and fresh looking! Not to mention…we have an abundance of zucchini right now 😉

  12. This looks lovely! And I just happen to have more zucchini than I know what to do with!

  13. Dala from thymeandtamarind.com
    08.12.2014

    I’ve never had orecchiette pasta! I must give it a try!

    This looks light, summery, and full of flavor 🙂

  14. Looks so fresh and yummy…
    perfect for todays hot weather in Athens!

  15. Martina
    08.13.2014

    Excellent blog, the recipes looks delicious! Keep on cooking 🙂

  16. Saska from workthathealth.blogspot.com
    08.13.2014

    This looks delicious! Definitely gonna make this some time 🙂

  17. cheyenne from wanderfulways.blogspot.nl
    08.14.2014

    i just had squash for the very first time and absolutely loved it. definitely going to make this recipe as soon as possible, sounds delicious!
    xo, cheyenne

  18. Cecelia Whitman
    08.20.2014

    Where is your beautiful serving platter/plate from? It is lovely!

    • jeanine
      08.20.2014

      thanks – it’s vintage, I found it on Etsy a few years ago (sorry that’s not helpful!)

  19. I made this pasta when we met friends for a long weekend getaway last weekend and it was a hit. Love the simple but full-on flavors in this…this recipe is a keeper!

    • jeanine
      08.21.2014

      so glad it was a hit!

  20. This is mouth-watering, will definitely try to do this recipe before summer ends !

  21. Anna
    08.31.2014

    Thanks for another great recipe! Husband loved this, and if I lie to daughter about the squash (it’s yellow starch) she likes it too. 🙂

    • jeanine
      08.31.2014

      Ha, yellow starch – love it :). Glad your family liked it!

      • Anna
        08.31.2014

        Daughter is 8, and she refuses to try new things. So I find myself lying sort of frequently when it comes to food. Sweet potatoes are called carrots, potatoes are just starch (cheese covered, seasoned, etc) and squash is either starch or cheese, depending on the dish. I hope this doesn’t turn out to be a bad decision in the future. O.o

  22. Stephanie from teachingaworldofdifference.com
    09.23.2014

    I love this combo – had to substitute GF pasta but the feta, capers and lemon together was so good. Thank you for your beautiful blog!

  23. Laura
    07.20.2015

    I don’t usually comment and I can’t even remember how I found this recipe. I will say – thank you, it was wonderful and will soon be a summertime staple in my he. My sons are polishing off whatever’s left out there as I type. Wouldn’t change a thing. The added lemon and parm at the end, coupled with a little crushed reds and peppers made for an impressive presentation. Wow!

  24. Laura
    07.20.2015

    I don’t usually comment and I can’t even remember how I found this recipe. I will say – thank you, it was wonderful and will soon be a summertime staple in my home. My sons are polishing off whatever’s left out there as I type. Wouldn’t change a thing. The added lemon and parm at the end, coupled with a little crushed reds and pepper made for an impressive presentation. Wow!

    • jeanine
      07.21.2015

      I’m so glad!! Thanks for coming back to comment and let me know 🙂

  25. Natalie
    02.10.2016

    I really love this recipe but it is winter right now yet I want to make this dish.What can I substitue for the summer squash?

      • Natalie
        02.10.2016

        Thank you so much! The butternut squash one looks fabulous. I am such an orchette freak so I will just use that shape:) Love all your recipes so much they always turn out so well my boyfriend thinks I am a great cook but I keep telling him no I am just good at replicating Love and Lemons:)

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          02.11.2016

          Ha, I love that :). Glad you’ve both been enjoying the recipes!

  26. Nina Boutsikaris
    08.15.2016

    What do you think about doing this as a brown rice salad instead of with pasta?

  27. Nes
    09.10.2017

    So good especially considering how very simple it is. A great late summer dish.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.