Don’t let yellow vegetables squash you

Published 12:02am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It’s summertime in the Miss-Lou, as evidenced by the fact that in the last week I have eaten one fresh from the vine tomato and yellow squash from Bobby’s garden.

These are two of my favorite summertime vegetables, but I know many of you have a love-hate relationship with yellow squash.

You’re so excited when those first blossoms appear, and soon enough you are picking squash for your dinner table. Then the next day you look out your window and your squash plant is three times bigger than it was and covered with more squash than you could possibly eat. Pretty soon your neighbors won’t answer the door when you knock because they’ve had all the squash they can stand.

Maybe the reason you have too much squash on your hands is because you have run out of ways to cook it. So here are two recipes to assist you. The first one is a new one for me, but, it is the first recipe in a long time that I didn’t have to tweak to make it to my liking. It is named after the same techniques that are used on clam or oyster casino. The second recipe has been a favorite at my house during the summer for years and is changed up quickly with the addition of grilled shrimp or chicken.

 

Squash casino

4 yellow squash, small to medium size

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Garlic powder

3 tablespoons of finely chopped crisp bacon

2 tablespoons of finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons of finely chopped green bell peppers

2 tablespoons of finely chopped red onion

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Preheat our oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a small cookie sheet. Wash your squash and cut of both ends, slice in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, slightly hollow each one down the middle. Don’t go very deep; you aren’t going to be stuffing them.

In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, bacon bits, peppers and onions and divide this mixture among the squash halves. Sprinkle the Parmesan over every piece, drizzle with the olive oil, and bake for about 10 minutes, or just until they begin to turn golden brown. Serve immediately

 

This next recipe is delicious as is but it can changed up easily with the addition of grilled chicken or grilled shrimp.

 

Pasta primavera

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 medium zucchini, ends removed and chopped

2 yellow squash, ends removed and shopped

1 smile white or red onion, thinly sliced

1 yellow or red bell pepper bell pepper cut into thin strips

1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme and dried basil

1 pound bowtie pasta

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl toss all of the vegetables with the oil and dried herbs to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes. This should take 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your vegetables. While the veggies are in the oven cook your pasta according to the package directions, until it is tender but still firm to the bite.

Drain the pasta, but reserve one cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the hot vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with just enough salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the rated Parmesan cheese and serve.

 

Christina Hall writes a food column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.