Since summer officially ends this weekend, I wanted to share one last recipe we’ve loved this summer: Summer Squash Parmesan. I discovered a new source for recipes/inspiration this summer: NYT Cooking. They are on target with what’s in season and what works for weeknights vs. the weekend and have simply been pretty in line with my summertime cravings for fresh, delicious food. It is well worth falling down the rabbit hole over there (and it is most definitely a rabbit hole of recipes, articles, and general food-related inspiration).
The original version of this recipe used fresh tomatoes from the garden (something we are currently without as renters) and was vegetarian. I subbed in a large can of whole peeled tomatoes and then added some sausage to add some extra flavor given the use of canned over fresh (and let’s be honest, I love a dish with sausage). The NYT also used zucchini alone for this recipe, but in the spirit of using what I had, I used an overgrown yellow squash from my parents’ garden and a zucchini together and found it quite satisfying.
What I like about this dish is it meets my cravings for Italian, without being heavy. Since it is sans pasta and has minimal cheese, the entire things feels much lighter than expected (and you don’t have to feel guilty about seconds). We served this with fresh bread and, another summertime favorite, watermelon diced and tossed with a little lime juice. I’ll be honest, I was a bit sad when the leftovers were gone.
Summer Squash Parmesan
Adapted from NYT Cooking
2 lb. summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini or a mix preferred)
salt and pepper
1/2-1 t. red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 recipe for Tomato Sauce with Sausage (see below)
Tomato Sauce with Sausage
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb. ground pork sausage
2-4 garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
1 28. oz jar no salt added whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 c. red wine
salt and pepper
pinch of white sugar
1-2 t. dried basil (to taste)
Preheat your oven to 450°. Trim the ends off of your squash before cutting the squash in half crosswise. Slice your squash lengthwise into 1/4-1/3″ pieces. Season both sides with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and toss with olive oil (approximately 2 tablespoons). Arrange your slices of squash on a baking sheet in one layer. Roast for 12 minutes until lightly browned and easily pierced with a knife.
While your squash roasts, in a deep skillet, sauté onion in olive oil. Add pork sausage and cook until sausage crumbles. Drain off some of the excess fat, leaving approximately a tablespoon in the pan. Add tomatoes, red wine, salt, pepper, and sugar. Use your spoon to roughly chop up the tomatoes in the pan until they are bite-size pieces. Bring to boil and then reduce heat. Add basil to taste.
When the squash is cooked, remove from oven and reduce heat to 375°. Grease a 9×9 baking pan and assemble your dish. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over the bottom, followed by a layer of squash (approximately 1/3rd of your squash). Spoon approximately 1/3rd of the remaining sauce over your squash and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Repeat 2 times, finishing with the remainder of your Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until bubbling and browned at the top and edges. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.