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 1/4" thick slivers on a diagonal
- 2 zucchini squash sliced in 1/4" thick rounds
- 2 yellow summer squash sliced in 1/4" thick rounds
- 1 pound button or crimini mushrooms sliced 1/4" 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 1/4 to 1/2 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.