You’d never know the sauce for this pasta dish is not cream or cheese based. Well, of course some cheese is used, but you can include as much or as little as you like.

When I was home in Connecticut, my mother gave me a bunch of vegetables from her garden including a giant yellow squash, and for its use she shared this recipe. Cooking the squash down, pureeing it, and adding parmesan cheese gives this sauce a nutty taste, while the roasted tomatoes add a wonderful richness and a sweet bite. The lemon zest and juice are key ingredients that make the flavors pop. This makes a lot of sauce, which I then used again in a lasagne layered with roasted eggplant. So good!

For the sauce:

  • 1 large yellow summer squash, diced
  • 1 tblsp unsalted butter
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Chopped parsley or basil, whichever you prefer
  • Sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

For the tomatoes:

  •  1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Sprinkle of sugar
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

In a large sauce pan heat 1-2 tblsp oil and 1 tblsp butter (it helps thicken the sauce). Cook the onion, squash, garlic, and lemon zest until very soft, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth in splashes as needed to help the vegetables cook, keep them moist, and prevent browning. Once everything cooks down, add a shower of nutmeg. Meanwhile put the tomatoes and crushed garlic in a small baking dish and coat with olive oil. Then sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400º until the tomatoes start to burst and the juices start to release.

Transfer the squash mixture into a large bowl and using a hand-blender, purée the mixture until smooth. At this point I like to add the juice from the roasted tomatoes to the mixture as well. Now add the fresh herbs, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice. Toss with fettuccine and the roasted tomatoes, then top with more parmesan. Prepare to enter a food coma.