I take constructive criticism very well…when it comes to cooking. After all, I cook to please my audience. If they don’t like what I cook, they won’t eat it. The Mister suggested I leave the summer squash out of the Summer Pasta. Since he really likes summer squash, I asked him why not in the the pasta. He said it was too slimy and wet.
I’m the girl who loves okra in all its slimy glory. So, the idea of hunks of slimy and wet squash in my pasta never did cause me to question the dish. Knowing the Mister as well as I do, I completely understood his request.
In order to keep the summer in the pasta, and understanding his textural dislike of the squash, I knew just what to do. I diced the squash in a quarter inch dice. When sauteed with the other ingredients, they blended into the pasta dish with ease. We were both happy and summer was saved! When I made this dish at the lake, the kids all loved it. I never told them exactly what was in it. They were told it was chicken and pasta.
I’ve been making variations of pasta my entire adult life. Most of the time with no recipe. I just throw in what I have on hand. I actually wrote down everything when I made this at the lake. However, I have reduced the quantity down to a somewhat normal number. This will make four generous servings.
1 small yellow summer squash (yellow crookneck squash), 1/4 inch dice
1 small zucchini squash, 1/4 inch dice
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 large boneless chicken breast, cut up into small bite size pieces
extra virgin olive oil as needed for sauteing the veggies and chicken
1/2 pound thin spaghetti (4 servings)
chicken stock (or salted water), enough to cook the pasta, homemade or store bought, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large pot, cook the pasta in the chicken stock per the cooking instructions on the package. You can cook the pasta in plain, salted water or add water to the chicken stock if you need more cooking liquid. This is what gives your pasta extra flavor. Please, do not over cook the pasta. It really isn’t that good when it is overcooked.
Heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, on med/hi heat. Add the cup up chicken and saute until done and a bit golden brown in color. Transfer the chicken to a plate. In the same pan, add a tablespoon or more of olive oil and toss in the cut up veggies. Saute until all the veggies are done. The, add the minced garlic and the cooked chicken. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer. Add a ladle of the pasta water to the mixture if it looks too dry. Salt and pepper to taste.
When the pasta is cooked and drained, mix the pasta, the veggies and chicken, and some grated cheese together and serve. Add a bit of pasta water if it is too dry.
Note: Never discard the liquid you cooked the pasta in until after the meal is served. It can be used to add to the pasta mixture if it is too dry. I also add a little to the container of leftover pasta to keep it nice for the next meal.