Summer Squash Ribbons When You’re Awash in Summer Squash
Every August finds markets and gardens awash (as in saturated) with summer squash. Whether it’s too hot to cook or too little time, let summer squash ribbons come to the rescue. With a jar of pesto in your fridge, easily made and fun to eat Summer Squash Ribbons with Pesto are ready to serve in just 15 minutes.
In this Olympic year, mild flavored summer squash just might qualify for gold. Nigh unto impossible to beat its all-around versatility, cooking speed and artistry in the pan. Considering its super abundance and diversity, it’s a winner.
Summer squash ribbons how to
The width and length of your summer squash determines the size of your squash ribbons. So use the longer summer squash varieties rather than the short, round pattypans for your squash ribbons. Longer varieties include green and yellow zucchini, yellow crookneck and Italiano largo. An incredibly sharp “Y” peeler quickly and easily creates summer squash ribbons. Here’s how:
- Trim off a sliver from both the stem and flower end of each squash.
- Either hold the squash in one hand or place the squash flat on a cutting board.
- Holding onto the sides of the squash, use the Y peeler in your other hand to peel off squash ribbons.
- Peel off 3-4 ribbons on one side. Rotate the squash 90 degrees and peel off 3-4 ribbons. Continue around the squash until you come to the heavily seeded core.
- When using the squash fresh, it’s okay to make squash ribbons from the core. However, when lightly sautéing, don’t use the squash ribbons from the core as they quickly become mushy.
4 tips for choosing summer squash
- For the best flavor and texture choose firm zucchini and other long squash 1- 1½ inches in diameter with clear, shiny skin.
- Choose scalloped edged pattypans around 3 inches in diameter.
- Very small baby squash look great though taste rather bitter.
- The huge squashes that get overlooked in the garden, have tough skin and seeds, making them less than ideal for eating.
Summer Squash Ribbons with Pesto
Serve gluten-free Summer Squash Ribbons with Pesto as you would serve pasta: as an entrée, as a separate course, as a side dish. Toss them with any of the many varieties of pesto, including Garlic Scape Pesto, Tuscan Kale Pesto, Parsley Scallion Pesto or with my version of Pesto Genovese as I’ve done here. When you need to make pesto, do so before you begin preparing the summer squash ribbons.
Use both yellow squash and zucchini for an especially lovely presentation. Though, of course, using just one color of squash works as well.
Thank you, Cook’s Illustrated, for inspiring this recipe.
Makes 4 entrée servings Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time About 30 minutes if you need to make pesto
2 pounds mixed yellow squash and zucchini about 1-1 ½ inches wide
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
¼ cup pesto of choice at room temperature
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
- Trim a small amount from both the flower and stem end of each squash. Use a “Y” peeler (or a regular vegetable peeler) to create 3-4 ribbons the entire length of the squash. Turn the squash 90 degrees and peel off another 3-4 ribbons. Continue peeling and turning until you come to the heavily-seeded center core. (You can make squash ribbons from the core to use fresh in salads. However, when lightly sautéed, they quickly become mushy.)
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shows ripples, add the squash ribbons. After 1 minute, use a pair of tongs to gently toss and turn the squash. Continue cooking the squash ribbons for another 3-4 minutes until softened, turning them every 30 seconds or so.
- Turn off the heat. Add the pesto in dollops to the squash ribbons in the pan. Use the tongs to toss the ribbons and evenly distribute the pesto. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Summer Squash Ribbons with Pesto are best served hot.