Crookneck Squash Gemelli Pasta (Vegetarian Pasta Recipe)

Crookneck Squash Gemelli Pasta (Vegetarian Pasta Recipe) Recipe

It's Meatless Monday and today I'm sharing with you one of baby Aria's favorite pasta dishes. I used gemelli pasta, cut crookneck squash the same size as the pasta and flavored them with tarragon and parsley crème fraîche. The crookneck squash provides a soft texture to the dish and the same-sized pieces make for easy eating, especially for little ones.

I hope your weekend was as adventuresome as ours. We spent the weekend at Half Moon Bay State Beach. It wasn't too hot with the ocean breeze. It was so peaceful and quiet; exactly what we needed! Aria and I wandered along the beaches and on the trails after our picnic. I had prepared my husband Lulu's favorite cucumber tea sandwiches and used the remaining filling to flavor the pasta dish the following day!

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1 (12-ounce) package gemelli pasta
2 2 crookneck squash, halved then cut into small sticks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 tablespoons crème fraîche, see tips
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons all nut butter (or your favorite powdered nut), optional
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
4 sprigs tarragon, stemmed
6 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped

Directions

For the tarragon flavoring:

To keep a bright green color, blanch (dip for 10 seconds in boiling water then transfer to an ice-cold bath) the parsley and tarragon, drain and pat dry on a paper towel. Finely chop.

In a mini-food processor or mini-blender, combine the blanched, chopped parsley and tarragon, the garlic powder, lemon juice, nut butter (if using), crème fraîche and salt butter. Pulse and slowly add about 2 tablespoons olive oil until it becomes a thick paste. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Prepping the crookneck squash:

Trim the ends. Cut the squash into small sticks.

In a large, deep pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sauté the onions until golden. Add the squash. Stir until light translucent. Make sure the squash is tender. Do not over-cook, as it will finish cooking with the pasta. You still want the squash sticks to hold their shape. Transfer the squash mixture to a plate. Set aside.

For the gemelli pasta:

Bring about 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the gemelli pasta, bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the pasta will cook all the way through evenly. Cook the pasta for about 12 minutes total. Salt the water half-way through the cooking process (it will bring out the natural flavor of the pasta and it will be more tender) and keep stirring every now and then so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. It may take longer than the cooking time that's written on the box. When the pasta is cooked (cooked inside and out but still in shape and firm), reserve about ½ cup of pasta water and drain the pasta (do NOT rinse). Transfer to a large flat platter. You can also skip this step and transfer the pasta directly to the sauté pan.

Assembly time:

In the same pan used for the squash, heat the rest of the vegetable oil. Add the gemelli  pasta. Add half the tarragon flavoring, stir until well incorporated. Add about ¼ cup of pasta water. Toss the pasta for about 3-4 minutes over high high. Season with salt and pepper. If the pasta starts sticking to the bottom, add more pasta water. Add the sautéed onions and squash. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Transfer to a plate. Add the rest of the tarragon mixture. Toss well for about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat; that way the pasta remains green. 

Serve warm.

Bon appétit!


Tips

For a vegan and healthier version, omit the crème fraîche and butter and use only oil instead.

You could substitute eggplant or zucchini for the crookneck squash.

 

Crookneck Squash
Crookneck Squash and zucchini

 

 

 

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 29, 2014.


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