Lemon Pasta with Fresh Herbs

This simple pasta comes together easily and makes use of what can sometimes be an overwhelming abundance of zucchini and other summer squash this time of the season. Lemon and fresh herbs provide brightness to this light and delightful dish.

Bon Appétit! Chef Bettina

Lemon Pasta with Fresh Herbs

~ 4 – 6 servings

>> 1 pound fusilli pasta, or penne

>> 1½ pounds zucchini or other summer squash, or a combination, halved lengthwise

>> Kosher salt and black pepper

>> 4 tablespoons olive oil

>> 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

>> ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

>> Juice and zest of 1 lemon

>> ½ cup grated Pecorino or grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

>> 1 ½ cups roughly chopped herbs, such as mint, basil, chervil, Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

>> Flaky salt, for serving (as desired)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is just under al dente, 1 minute less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini or other squash: Season with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large grill pan over medium heat and add the squash in one layer (you may need to do this in two batches) and cook undisturbed until it begins to turn golden brown, and grill marks are formed, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut diagonally into large chunks.

To a sauté pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook until the garlic becomes translucent, about 30 seconds. Add the squash back to the pan along with the lemon juice and half the lemon zest. Toss to combine.

Add the pasta to the pan, and toss to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the grated cheese, and toss until the cheese emulsifies and is silky. If needed, add an additional 1/4 cup pasta water or more to loosen. Add the fresh herbs and toss again. Top with additional herbs and the remaining lemon zest. Serve in bowls, and pass grated cheese at the table. Season with flaky salt, if desired.

*Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the executive chef and owner of Marcello’s overlooking the historic lighthouse in Port Isabel. Marcello’s Ocean Grille & Spirits was recently written up in Texas Monthly magazine as the new trending restaurant for dinner and brunch in the South Padre Island area.