Make this simple weeknight pasta when you have a bounty of summer squash. With just 10 ingredients, it's fresh, bright & satisfying.
You still have tons of zucchini right? Ok, I thought so, just checking. This summer squash pasta recipe should be next on your to-make list. It’s a straight-forward, simple dish – 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.
How to Make This Summer Squash Pasta Recipe
Making this pasta couldn’t be easier. Because summer squash cooks quickly, it comes together in minutes, so it’s a great choice for those days when you’re craving something delicious but don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Here’s all you need to do:
- Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
- Sauté the summer squash with garlic and rosemary until it’s lightly browned.
- Stir in a big handful of spinach and a large squeeze of lemon juice! Then, fold in the cooked pasta and a bit of the starchy pasta water.
- Finish it all with feta, capers, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. For a vegan option, add pesto instead of the cheese.
- Season to taste and dig in!
Summer Squash Pasta Recipe Variations
Like most simple recipes, this summer squash pasta is easy to vary according to your tastes or what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to change it up:
- Switch the herb. Rosemary isn’t super summery, but it’s what I had on hand, and its 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 great. If you use leafy herbs, just be sure to add them closer to the end so they stay fresh and bright.
- Swap the pasta shape. I love orecchiette, as it creates little cups to scoop up the veggies, cheese, and capers, but use what you have on hand. Penne, rotini, or even spaghetti would work just as well in this dish.
- Vary the veggie. Lots of varieties of summer squash are available at farmers markets, so use whatever you can get your hands on. Along with zucchini and yellow squash, pattypan squash or scallop squash would be delicious here. If you don’t have summer squash, you can use this recipe as a template for whatever vegetable you do have. Broccoli, for example, would be excellent.
Looking for more summer squash recipes?
Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette
- 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
- Thinly slice squash, about ⅛ inch thick (on a mandoline if you have one). Lay squash slices on a towel and pat dry.
- Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
- 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.
- Stir in the lemon juice, then add the spinach and toss. Add the pasta along with a bit of the starchy pasta cooking water.
- 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.
Stainless sauté pan: Williams-Sonoma Open Kitchen Stainless Cookware