Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Squash Pasta Sautee

When I met up with Caroline yesterday, I was already soaked to the skin from the 5 minutes it took me to ride to Arlington Center to meet her for our planned jaunt through trails on our cyclocross bikes. I greeted her by asking, "Are we dedicated, adventurous or stupid?" To this, she replied, "Yes." Then off we went for 3 hours out in the pouring rain through foot deep puddles and small rivers cascading through the trails. It was, indeed, fun.
I am not what I'd describe as a "hard-core" athlete. When I say "hard-core" I think of someone who is very dedicated, sticks to their training no matter what the conditions, is competitive, and takes some risks in the spirit of getting better at what they do (there's probably some more criteria there, but you get the gist). I'm more of what I'd classify as a "weenie". I do things, and I do them consistently, but I don't push myself often enough. And, if the weather is lousy, I'll often just go to a yoga class instead. I'm also not very competitive. I like to partake in races here or there, but I don't have the competitive drive to work really hard. I mostly do these things because I like the social aspect of it, it gives me a goal, and it pushes me out of my comfort zone.
I fear as I get older, I am becoming more of a weenie. I'm pushing myself less. I can't remember the last time I've done an epic, long road ride. I'm not even sure I could do a 75 or 100 mile ride in the near future. Perhaps I could, but it would hurt. A lot. So this makes me kind of sad and I do plan to work towards a century ride for this Fall.
But, yesterday, when I was returning home from my ride and I passed a runner, also out in the pouring rain, he gave me a sly smile which I promptly returned. It's the smile that says, "I'm just a little crazy, and so are you." This made me happy. Perhaps I haven't completely lost my ability to live just a little on the edge.
Then, I came home and made this recipe from Super Natural Every Day (the recipe is Summer Linguine) by Heidi Swanson, also the author of 101 Cookbooks. It's the perfect recipe for this time of year when there are piles of summer squash to be eaten. I was so eager to eat I forgot to take a photo, so I'll have to make it again soon.

Summer Squash Pasta Sautee
2 medium large yellow summer squash or zucchini, coarsely grated
Fine grain sea salt
4 oz whole wheat linguine
4 oz durum wheat linguine
2 tblspns olive oil
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tspn red pepper flakes
1 tblspn unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Grate the squash and place it in a colander with a few big pinches of sea salt to drain. Press the water out a couple of times.
2. Boil the water and cook the pastas in 2 separate pots or cook in one big pot, but check the cooking times and add them at the appropriate intervals. Reserve a bit of the cooking water when you drain it.
3. Just before you're ready to eat, heat the olive oil in the pan on medium heat and add the garlic and red chile pepper. Let cook for a minute or two until fragrant but before the garlic browns.
4. Squeeze the squash with your hands into the sink to get out remaining water. Add to pan. Cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the pasta and toss to distribute the zucchini. Add a little of the reserved cooking water if it seems dry.
6. Add the butter and the cheese. Toss again and serve immediately.