Need a foolproof recipe that won’t heat up your kitchen or cause you to sweat? Here it is. Pasta with Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash is a weeknight lifesaver and summer at its simplest.
This is my favourite kind of summer weeknight meal. Plump raviolis tossed in a garlic-boosted, simple sauce with toasted pine nuts, an abundance of grilled summer squash, and a sprinkle of chili flakes and lemon zest to brighten it all up. Creamy feta to finish it off is encouraged but not essential. It’s delicious, fast, and completely satisfying.
In short, toast some pine nuts in a large skillet, add a scant tablespoon of butter, a glug of your best olive oil, and 3 large crushed garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic is quite brown then add some very al-dente cooked ravioli followed by a few ladles of the pasta water. While these flavours meld, mix a little honey with balsamic vinegar and brush sliced summer squash with it. Grill on both sides, about 3-4 minutes a side, add to the ravioli and done. A perfect pasta dish with a good load of veggies.
Grilled honey summer squash
You may be wondering about that honey-brushed grilled summer squash so let’s back track a little. Though I am not much for anything too sweet in my food, brushing the summer squash with a little honey and balsamic vinegar accomplishes three things. First, it eliminates the need to brush the vegetable with oil. Second, the honey helps intensify the char on the vegetables. Lastly, the sweet and tangy mixture adds a fantastic pop of flavour to the pasta.
If you don’t have a grill, you can absolutely roast the squash in a hot oven following the same directions. Turn the broiler on for a minute if you need the vegetables to get a little more colour.
TIP: If you are pressed for time, rather than slicing the summer squash in small pieces before grilling, cut larger horizontal slices. Once grilled, cut the squash into bite-size pieces.
About Summer Squash
Summer squash is harvested mostly in the summer and includes varieties such as zucchini, yellow summer squash, and patty pans. They all have a mild flavour with just a hint of sweetness when cooked. If you buy very fresh summer squash it can last a few weeks in the crisper drawer.
Any summer squash variety works for this recipe and I like to use a mix for a little more interest.
TIP: Buy small to medium-sized squash which have a little more flavour and are a little less watery than the real large ones.
I used (store-bought) fresh, frozen cheese ravioli this time around but I have also made this with fresh refrigerated cheese tortellini and it is just as good. In my area I buy the pasta here. If you rather not use a stuffed pasta, a sturdy pasta shape such as penne or even fettuccini would also work.
TIP: Cook the pasta a few minutes shy of the suggested time or until very al-dente. It will continue to cook in the pan with the other ingredients so you don’t want it to get mushy.
This time of year everyone seems to have an endless supply of zucchini and yellow squash so this is the perfect recipe to use them up. If you aren’t a fan, you can try it with grilled eggplant, mushrooms, or even corn. Yum!
For a vegan dish, choose a vegan ravioli and brush the veggies with maple syrup instead of honey.
Sub toasted slivered almonds for the pine nuts, so good. In fact, I have a hard time deciding which one I like more. If avoiding nuts, use toasted pepitas.
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Pasta with Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash
- 500-600 grams refrigerated or frozen ravioli
- 2 medium yellow squash ends trimmed, sliced into ¼-inch wide wedges
- 1 medium zucchini ends trimmed, sliced into ¼-inch wide wedges
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and gently smashed
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup feta cheese chopped or crumbled optional
- Preheat a grill to medium-high. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes less than package instructions or until very al dente (firm-tender) to the bite. Before draining the pasta scoop out 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta in a colander. Note: If using ravioli, fish it out as soon as it floats to the top.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the honey and balsamic vinegar. Brush the squash pieces with the honey mixture on both sides. Grill, turning once about 6-8 minutes total.
- Heat a large pan over medium-low and add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden in spots, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and let it cook until it begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the smashed garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic is just starting to brown about 3-4 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
- Stir in the drained pasta and the pasta water and toss gently to combine. Add the grilled squash, red pepper flakes and lemon zest. Toss again gently and serve immediatley topped with fresh basil and feta cheese, if desired.
- If you are pressed for time, rather than slicing the summer squash in small pieces before grilling, cut larger horizontal slices. Once grilled, cut the squash into bite-size pieces.
- Make sure to cook the pasta a few minutes shy of the suggested time or until very al-dente. It will continue to cook in the pan with the other ingredients so you don't want it to get mushy.
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