I’m not a huge fan of Mario Batali, but my husband and I received a “bonus” wedding present from a friend of ours, who bought us some things on our registry related to bread dipping and slightly fine dining, along with some dipping oils and a cookbook. The oils and cookbook are the bonuses I speak of (which, by the way, if you’re buying a wedding present in the future, I totally think this is a great way to approach giving a gift people want, and coupling it with some individuality and creativity on your part). So, anyhow, the cookbook is Mario Batali’s Simple Family Meals, and it’s kind of wonderfully divided up by month, so you’re also theoretically cooking in season. The recipe I just made yesterday was part of the July section, but I think it’s close enough. The recipe was supposed to be Bucatini with Spicy Summer Squash and White Beans. Us not being hugely into pasta and also not being Italian, we didn’t have bucatini laying around, so I went with our thin spaghetti. It worked like a dream. And I have to say, I think this was way more delicious than I expected. Here, I was just looking for recipes to help us use up some of the multitudes of summer squash we have in the crisper drawer, and I ended up with a delicious meal. Not bad.
Adapted from Molto Batali, by Mario Batali
Serves: 5 as a Main Course
1/8 c plus 1/8 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tb hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick coins
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 oz cannellini or white navy beans, drained and rinsed (half a can)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb thin spaghetti pasta
1/2 cup fresh seasoned breadcrumbs, toasted
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1 tsp oil
1.) Boil water in a pasta pot.
2.) Add whole grape tomatoes to a baking dish. Spray lightly with about 1 teaspoon of oil and move tomatoes around to ensure they are lightly coated. Pop dish into a 400 degree oven and cook for the duration of the pasta dish.
2.) While water is heating, heat 1/8 cup oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and just enough squash coins to cover the bottom of the pain in one layer. Cook, without moving squash, until golden brown on the bottom, about 8-10 minutes. To aid with cooking all the way through, cover pan about half way through cooking. Transfer squash to a plate. Repeat until all squash is cooked. (I used a big pan and mine only took 1 round.)
3.) Add remaining oil and garlic to the saute pan and cook over medium heat until garlic is light brown, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes, until warmed through. Add the cooked squash, season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat and set aside.
4.) Add salt to the boiling water. Drop pasta into the water and cook for 1 minute less than package instructions indicate. Just before done, ladle 1 ladle full of the pasta water into the squash mixture.
6.) In a small skillet, toast breadcrumbs over medium heat for about 2 minutes, moving the breadcrumbs to keep from burning.
5.) Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated.
6.) Pull tomatoes out of the oven and add to a small serving dish. Serve pasta immediately, with breadcrumbs and roasted tomatoes on the side.
Note: I also had some parmesan ready to grate if need be, but it was totally unnecessary.
Weight Watchers Points: 10