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This dish is not about the linguine. Preparing it, I thought of Nina Planck saying in her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, that a standard vegetable serving size looked to her like a doll's portion.
Make this now, when so many vegetables are at their fleeting peak. I've listed what I had on hand, but any variety of quick-cooking, summer vegetables should stand in nicely here. But don't skip the fresh tomatoes - somehow they meld and mellow all of the flavors and are the secret to a silky sauce.
Serve this as a one-dish dinner, you won't miss the meat with so many flavors and the rich finish of butter and Parmesan.
Summer Vegetable Linguine
- 1 pound fresh green beans stem ends snapped and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound dry whole wheat linguine
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes coarsely chopped
- 1 large sweet onion cut in half then sliced into ¼" thick slivers on a diagonal
- 2 zucchini squash sliced in ¼" thick rounds
- 2 yellow summer squash sliced in ¼" thick rounds
- 1 pound button or crimini mushrooms sliced ¼" thick
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Parmigiano Reggiano or other good quality Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. You’ll be using this to blanch the green beans and boil the linguine.
- Add a small handful of salt to the boiling water, stir, then add the green beans. Let them boil for 3 to 4 minutes then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. If you like, you can plunge them into an ice bath to keep them crisp; drain before adding to the dish at the end. Set aside.
- Add the linguine to the boiling water and stir so the strands don’t stick together. Cook according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, onion and a generous pinch of salt to help the onions release their liquid. Cook and stir until the tomatoes soften and their skins start to split. Add the squash and mushrooms; cook and stir until they reach your desired tenderness; for me, about 3 minutes.
- When the pasta is al dente, scoop it out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon or pasta server and add directly to vegetable mixture in skillet. Add reserved green beans and ¼ to ½ cup pasta water to help the juices adhere to the pasta. Let mixture boil for a minute or two, while stirring, to thicken the sauce.
- Remove from heat and add butter; stir to distribute evenly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and transfer to serving bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, top with a dozen or more shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.