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Brown Butter Summer Squash Linguine


Serves 3 to 4

  • by from Fast, Fresh & Green

Hoorah! There’s finally a great way to cook summer squash, that poor unfortunate victim of too many “vegetable medleys,” in which the overgrown squash is thickly sliced, overcooked, and served in a pool of liquid. Young squash—diced small and cooked fast—are yummy. Even better, if you treat yourself to a really cool hand tool—a julienne peeler, which only costs about seven dollars—you can make the quickest, tastiest squash dish ever.

In this recipe, I quickly sauté the “linguine” in brown butter for a super-fast side dish. You could just wrap it up with salt and a squeeze of lemon, but I’ve added almonds, as nutty flavors pair really well with all squashes. (Hazelnuts are good here, too.) You can substitute zucchini for half of the summer squash, if you like.

Watch the video series Homegrown/Homemade: Squash to see Fine Cooking's Sarah Breckenridge make this recipe.

  • 1-1/2 lb. young yellow (summer) squash (about 4)
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or parsley
  • 1/2 lemon

Wash and dry the squash and trim off the ends. Using a julienne peeler, peel the squash lengthwise all the way around, dropping the strips into a bowl. Continue peeling until you reach the seed core. Discard the core and peel the other squash in the same fashion. Toss the squash strips and separate any that are clumping together.

In a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the almonds and swirl the butter around in the pan. Cook the butter until it reaches a nutty brown color (the almonds should be light brown by then), about 2 minutes. The color turns quickly so keep an eye on it—it will be more flavorful if you take it beyond a very light brown, but you don’t want it to turn black. Immediately add the squash and salt. Toss the squash gently with tongs until it is well coated with the butter. Continue cooking just until the squash becomes slightly limp, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in half of the chopped herbs, and squeeze a little of the lemon over the squash and toss. Taste and add more lemon, if desired. Transfer the squash to a serving dish or plates and garnish with the remaining herbs.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this side dish with grilled scallops or shrimp.

Photo: Ben Fink

crazy delicious... I subscribe to SNOOTH and they included this in an email update about Summer Squash... Didn't give it that much thought but, taking a friend to visit our weekly Farmers Market, I happened upon a pair of lovely summer squash [one yellow; one green] and thought -- oh -- I've got some terrific butter in the fridge right now, so... AND... a local Homemade Pasta Company happened to have some gorgeous fresh-made linguini... picked up a little packet of that. I am ready. [I keep hazelnuts, lemon, parsley -- like butter -- as staples in my kitchen, so...] AMAZING. Fabulous. Ridiculous. SIMPLY DELICIOUS. And I don't even own a Julienne gadget. Had to make do with relatively-more-floppy [and much less beautiful - sorry] "strips" of squash. No. Matter. Sooooooooooo SUBTLE. So delicious. The key: slowly, carefully, richly browning the finely chopped [or, like mine, randomly mashed in a tea towel with a wooden pin] NUTS. I used hazelnuts. Could've used almonds, but all my almonds were already oven-toasted [and I think browning RAW nuts in the butter feels important]... a little sea salt... and -- okay, I cheated -- I did cook up a cupful of that marvelous fresh pasta, but/and I added ONLY a quarter cup of finely shaved fresh Parmesan to that. No extra ANYthing else. And... it's heaven. Pour yourself a little white wine. And... tah dah. MAKE THIS.

This is a wonderful technique. I have a bumper crop of basil, so I used that (and added a touch of garlic to give a sort of "pesto-ish" twist). P.S. @twood-- if you salt the zucchini about 1/2 hour before you start the dish, leave in a colander over a bowl, then wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and GENTLY squeeze it (you don't want to break up the strips), you'll extract a lot of excess water from the squash. Just don't salt it again when you're sauteing it in the brown butter.

OMG. I used mexican mint marigold (tarragon doesn't grow in this heat) and this is soooooo good!~

I did not have the julienne peeler, so I tried to get by using my mandolin (as suggested in the accompanying video). Unfortunately, I did not have much luck with the mandolin. The good news is, I decided to continue even though I basically had two small handfuls of clumpy squash shavings. I did not use nuts because my youngest daughter is not supposed to eat nuts yet. Despite the botched julienning of the veggies and the lack of toasted nuts, this dish was amazingly flavorful (I opted for the fresh tarragon over the parsley). I am now motivated to get a real julienne peeler just so that I can make this recipe again. YUM!

I'll definitely try this again. The flavors were nice, the dish was really quick and easy to make, and I'm always looking for a new way to use up the summer squash. However, I had a problem with the squash letting out a lot of water which made the dish soggier than I would have liked. Any recommendations?

I've made this twice now -- it's outstanding, definitely a "keeper." It's worth the effort of using the julienne peeler to get the right size strips of squash. The nuts, brown butter, and tarragon are delicious together. I've tried almonds and pine nuts -- both worked really well. A hit with me and the BF!

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