Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wahoo! Summer Squash Ragu!

Ah, summer veggie season! This is the time of year when we all get creative with how to prepare the seemingly endless bounty of summer squash, tomatoes, and herbs strutting around our gardens and farmers markets. Zucchini is actually one of my favorite vegetables. I prefer them very small, no larger than 1.5” in diameter.

Here’s a dish that uses up both zucchini and yellow squash. It’s in the recipe family of caponata and pepperonata. This version, though, doesn’t have either eggplant or peppers in it, although feel free to add them if you have them! I ate this every summer growing up, as well as the other two dishes mentioned, and it is very tasty. It’s good either hot, cold, or at room temperature. I prefer it as a hot ragu over my gorgonzola polenta with an extra drizzle of olive oil , although it’s very tasty just as a side dish or with pasta or rice. Personally, I think it pairs best with either fish or chicken. It reheats very well, and is actually quite tasty as a brunch topper for fried eggs. Don't wince! It's really quite groovy over fried eggs! I dare you to try it! Double dare!


Olive Oil
2 small zucchini, sliced thin
1 small yellow squash, sliced thin
½ onion sliced into either slivers or half rounds
1 garlic clove, sliced paper thin (or you could mince or chop it) *(See Note)
4 fresh “meaty” variety tomatoes diced (or 1 can diced tom’s)
¼ cup pitted green olives, rough chopped in large pieces (I used Spanish pimento stuffed ones because that’s what I had; calamata’s could be used, too)
1 Tsp of capers (optional)
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Freshly grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese.

Heat a very large sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil, swirl to coat the pan. Quickly toss in the zucchini and yellow squash and sauté, adjust your burner heat as necessary to keep veggies from burning. When the squash are lightly browned, remove from pan. Add a touch more oil to the pan, and quickly sauté the onions and garlic* (see note). As soon as they are translucent, return the squash to the pan, add the tomatoes, and stir to combine. Turn the heat to med-low, and cook until the tomatoes are soft and the mixture has thickened (about 10 minutes). Stir in the olives and capers. Season with Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with cheese once you’ve plated the veggies. Also, drizzle with add’l olive oil if desired. (I desired!)

Also, for my gluten free comrades, this dish is gluten free all the way!

*NOTE: I always salt my garlic after I’ve sliced, minced, or chopped it. It keeps it from burning. We’ll have to ask Alton Brown as to why that is. I think it has something to do with the salt releasing moisture or some such thing. Do you know why salting chopped garlic keeps it from getting sticky and burning?


Marjie said...

I just love zucchini and summer squash sauteed in butter and pepper. I have a hard time making myself eat mixed foods, my blog pictures notwithstanding. Sorta like some of your kids; my father used to give me a hard time, until at about 9 I announced that I was proud to be a food segregationalist!

Pam said...

What a lovely recipe. The polenta sounds really good too. Thanks for the tip about salting garlic before cooking...I am not a fan of burnt garlic!

Paula said...

Hi Marjie, Just last night, I mentioned to hubby that I've should serve the 2 older kids their foods in bento boxes so that not only won't the foods be touching, they won't be on the same plate! Funny, they don't seem to have problems with choc sauce touching and smoothering ice cream (which ironically I don't eat)! I'm going to give your butter method a try; Lord knows I'll have lot of squash to experiment with!

Hi Pam, Give the salting a try! I just kind of mix the salt and chopped garlic together with a knife on the cutting board before I put it in the pan.

Kevin said...

That looks tasty and sounds like a nice way to enjoy zucchini.

Bridgett said...

Serves over gorgonzola polenta? Wow, does life get any better than that?? What a fantastic recipe.

Jan said...

That really does sound "Wahoo!" Paula. Nice job!


glad to see all those veggies being used in summer taste sensations - delicious!


(my sister was the birthday girl...)

Grace said...

oh, how this makes me wish i didn't kill my zucchini plants. on accident, of course. i'm a terrible, terrible gardener.
great dish--worth buying squash for, definitely. :)

Adrienne said...

1. That ragu looks delicious.
2. I LOVE the name of your blog.
Thanks for the summer squash inspiration :)

Cheryl said...

Man that looks good, I have not eaten anything like it in my life! I must try it!

noble pig said...

Oh wow, this looks so good. I am a true squash lover too. Love the close up shot.

Lucy said...

Loving this dish w/my favorite z's, and over polenta, wonderful flavors... yummy!!

Jason said...

Oh Yummy, this is one of my favorite things to make when I'm craving pasta but don't want all the carbs! Looks delicious.