Almost four years ago my sister and I took the plunge and moved cross-country. She settled in Southern California and I in Northern. Every summer we had our official “girls weekend” where I would head down South to escape the fog, get some much-needed beach time, but most of all catch up with my best friend.
This weekend officially marked the end of an era – my sister and I had our last girls weekend in Cali. Well, last girls weekend in Cali with both us being Californian residents. After 36 hours of eating, drinking, and shopping she hopped a one-way flight back East to start her new life in Boston with her soon to be hubby.
I woke up early on Sunday, and by early I mean 5am early, to take her to the airport. I swore I would go back to sleep when I got home, but for some reason the apartment seemed so empty with my hubby off in the mountains at a bachelor party and my sister somewhere over the country on her way to her new home. I couldn’t sleep. So I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed my cookbooks from the shelf, and curled up on the couch and started reading.
I stumbled on this recipe in Alice Waters’s cookbook for Spaghetti with Summer Squash, Herbs, and Walnuts. Strange combination, I thought, and even stranger she had a recipe for pasta with summer squash that did not entail garlic. I was intrigued, added the ingredients to the shopping list and headed to Whole Foods.
First I julienned the squash – using one zucchini, one yellow squash and a paddy pan.
Then I toasted the walnuts in the oven and let them cool. Rather than making myself crazy trying to chop them I placed them in a plastic bag and gave them a few pounds with the mallet – perfection!
Boiled up the water for the pasta, salted it and added the spaghetti to cook.
Meanwhile I heated up a large skillet, added some olive oil and sauted the squash. Only adding salt, pepper, and basil. Honestly, it took all my willpower not to add some nicely chopped garlic or red pepper flakes. I literally reached for the red pepper flakes and had to stop myself.
When the pasta was done I drained it, reserved some pasta water, and tossed it with the squash and walnuts. Added a little grated parmesan cheese and braced myself for blandness when I took the first bite. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Who knew simple could taste so good. The flavors perfectly complimented themselves. It really was perfect just as it was.