It’s the middle of summer and that means two things: 1) I don’t really want to cook, and 2) produce is at its peek. Tomatoes are the sweetest they are going to be all year. The squash are ginormous! I’m eating peaches, plums, berries and watermelon any chance I get just to keep them from over ripening. Not that I’m complaining. These are all good things that will pass too quickly.
Thankfully, because the produce is SO good right now you don’t need to do a lot to it to make it into an amazing meal. Less is definitely more here folks.
In Rome, Cheese (cacio) and Pepper (pepe) are the two magical ingredients and turn ordinary spaghetti into a rich and delicious dish. I’ve married the beautiful summer produce with this classic Italian pasta to create the ultimate, barely have to cook, summer meal.
There are a plethora of techniques for incorporating the cheese into the noodles. (Google it if you are interested.) The truth is that cheese doesn’t mix well into even the starchiest pasta water. So in this recipe I didn’t even try. I’m keeping the cooking to an absolute minimum here and letting all the magic happen on the plate and in your mouth which is where it should be.
And even though the days are so long and it feels like summer is never going to end, before you know it the farmer’s market peaches and plums are going to be replaced with apples and pears and the zucchini and yellow squash with pumpkins and gourds. So get to it and enjoy!
Summer Vegetable Cacio e Pepe
- 8 oz. Spaghetti
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt divided
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 8 ounces Grape Tomatoes
- 1 medium Zucchini
- 1 medium Yellow Squash
- 1/2- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Cut the zucchini and yellow squash on a spiralizer using the medium size blade. If you don’t have a spiralizer, cut into thin rounds.
- Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil and add 1/2 t. salt. Cook the spaghetti 6-8 minutes until al dente. Do not drain. Do not over cook! Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Heat a large stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the grape tomatoes and the remaining 1/4 t. salt. Cook 6 – 8 minutes until tomato skins begin to brown and split.
- Using tongs, transfer the cooked spaghetti from the pasta water and into the skillet with the tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Gently toss to combine.
- Add the zucchini and yellow squash and gently toss to combine. Allow to heat through 2-3 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates, add more of the reserved pasta water.
- Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately. Using tongs, place one scoop of the hot spaghetti mixture onto a plate. Sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan. Top with another scoop of the hot noodles and grated Parmesan.