Pasta with Fennel Frond Pesto and Caramelized Summer Squash

Fennel (1).jpg

Serves 4


For the pesto:

  • 1 cup chopped fennel fronds

  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons raw almonds

  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the pasta:

  • 1 green onion

  • 2 summer squash, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces then cut in half lengthwise

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 garlic scape

  • 1 lb extruded pasta of your choice

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • Juice of ½ lemon



  • Put on a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Meantime, make the pesto: combine the fennel fronds, garlic, nuts, and salt in a food processor or blender (a Vitamix would be handy with this recipe) and pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.

  • Add oil and process or blend until the mixture becomes paste-like.

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil until softened and a touch browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add summer squash, season generously with pepper and a pinch of salt, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.

  • Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions, but make sure to keep pasta quite al dented. Drain pasta, reserved 1 cup of cooking water.

  • Add cooked pasta to summer squash in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add ½ cup cooking water then the pesto, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for 1 minute more. Mixture should look creamy and wonderful. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper and squeeze on lemon juice. Serve immediately.