The Tragic Optimist

clearing the fridge of zucchini: summer squash pesto

For years now, we’ve done a farm share, which has worked well, except for the abundance of summer squash that inevitably hits right around the end of August.  No matter how bad a season may be, and this season was pretty harsh to our farm, there always seems to be more than enough zucchini, patty pans, crooknecks, and other variations on those themes.  Especially more than enough since I seem to be the only one in the family that likes to eat it straight.  Unlike winter squashes – which we’re also getting a good collection of – the summer squash has to be refrigerated, and doesn’t last so long, so this year, I started trying to come up with strategies to use it up.

One idea I came across online was a summer squash pesto, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a pesto recipe with pureed summer squash thrown in.  I decided to use this as an opportunity to use up a lot of the herbs that we’d gotten with our farm share, too (including tarragon, rosemary, parsley, sage, of course pesto, and probably a few others).  And I didn’t have pine nuts or walnuts, so I used some almonds I had in the cupboard.  So “pesto” may be a strong word for what I ended up with, but it’s a really nice sauce, and the best part is that you can get so much summer squash in to it.  The summer squash adds a really nice creamy sweetness, but it’s not a strong enough flavor to overpower the other flavors.  I’ve made two batches, in the first, I de-seeded the squash, but with the second, I only removed seeds from the squashes that had the really large seeds.

So sort of recipe for summer squash pesto – I’m really bad at keeping track of amounts:

  • olive oil – a couple of tablespoons
  • garlic (this can handle a lot of garlic), I think I used a small head of strong garlic.
  • assorted herbs, as much as you can get
  • slivered almonds, maybe half a cup
  • variety of summer squash, any large seeds removed, pretty much as much as will fit in the food processor
  • shredded parmesan cheese, maybe a cup
  • salt to taste

1.  Toss the garlic, herbs, almonds and olive oil in to the food processor and process until smooth.

herbs, garlic, almonds, and olive oil

2.  Add the  squash and puree again until smooth.

summer squash (some of it was shredded first, but that's not necessary) added to the bowl with the processed herbs, garlic, and almonds

3.  Mix in the parmesan and salt to taste.

final "pesto"

So given the amount of squash, the pesto is a lighter color, and creamier than is traditional in a pesto.  I froze both batches in ice cube trays.  I’ve tossed a cube in with a bowl of pasta or spaghetti squash for an easy meal.  I’ve added a cube or two in tomato sauces, in fact, I have a tomato sauce simmering on the stove right now with 5 cubes in the sauce.  I know that I’ll use it in soups this winter.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog about the article in the paper about my daughter! I was really surprised about the front page picture! Good luck on the contest!

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