I love pasta. I could cook it, and eat it, every day. When my son started turning his nose up at marinara sauce, I knew I had to find another way to cook pasta that was still delicious. I discovered lemons. Obviously, I knew what lemons were before the ripe old age of 29, but I didn't quite realize how amazing they would be when combined with olive oil and pasta. Can you say delicious?
One of my favorite chefs is Giada de Laurentiis...I know, I know...she shows a lot of boob. But, her food is amazing and simple to prepare. I have 2 of her cookbooks and have made almost everything out of the 1st one and probably half the recipes out of the 2nd. I haven't been disappointed yet. I used to watch her show, Everyday Italian, when I was a stay at home mom. You have to focus on what she is saying instead of her cleavage, but I managed.
So, one of her recipes that I love is for Lemon Spaghetti. It is very simple. Very tasty. Very satisfying. I made it so much that I thought I would tire of it. But I didn't and neither did my son. But I did decide that I'd like to experiment with different add in ingredients, and somehow, ended up with what has quickly become one of my signature dishes. Basically you use the Lemon Spaghetti recipe with some variations.
Instead of Spaghetti, I use Orzo Pasta. It looks like rice, and kids love it. I often will purchase a roasted chicken at the grocery store and pull the meat off to chop and add to this dish. It is lovely without the chicken, though.
In large skillet heat 2 T. olive oil, add ½ chopped yellow onion, pinch of red pepper flakes* and one clove garlic, chopped. Cook until soft. About 5-8 minutes. Chop 2 zucchini and 2 summer squash into small pieces, add to onions. Cook until bright and slightly soft, not mushy. Season with salt and pepper. Add vegetables to lemon spaghetti mixture and toss. Add chopped chicken, if using.
*I often leave out the red pepper since my son is not fond of spicy foods.
I have made this with canned tuna (in olive oil) and added black or kalamata olives instead of the squash and zucchini with chopped parsley instead of basil. It is very refreshing in the summer.
And that, my friends, is a weeknight meal like none other.
*I am planning this for dinner tomorrow. I will take a photo if there is time before it is all eaten*