Source: Lidia Bastianich (as found on page 103 of the book “Lidia’s Italy”)
Squash is not one of the most popular vegetables but I love squash and I love cooking with it. It is nutritious, versatile, and delicious. Northern Italy consumes more zucca—winter squash—than Southern Italy, especially in the areas near Modena in Emiglia Romagna and Padova in the Veneto.
This is a great side dish or appetizer. Traditionally the zucca is fried before it is marinated, as I do here, but it is also delicious when made with grilled or boiled zucca.
I recommend butternut squash but acorn, hubbard, and other varieties will work as well.
Serves 6 or more as an appetizer or side dish
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt or more to taste
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- A butternut squash, about 2 pounds
- 1 cup vegetable oil or as needed
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- A heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 12-inches diameter or larger
- A 6-cup glass or ceramic casserole dish, preferably about 6-inches wide, to marinate the squash in several layers
- Mix the vinegar, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt together in a small saucepan. Over high heat, reduce by half. Remove from the heat, drop in the garlic slices and let the marinade cool. Stir in the olive oil.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds. Peel the halves, place cut-side down and cut crosswise, into 1/3-inch thick half rounds.
- Pour vegetable oil into the skillet to the depth of 1/8-inch and set over medium-high heat. When the oil sizzles on contact with squash, fill the pan with a layer of slices, spaced slightly apart. Fry for about 3 minutes on the first side then flip the slices over. Fry on the second side another 2 or 3 minutes until the slices are cooked through (easy to pierce with the tines of a fork), crisped on the surface and caramelized on the edges.
- Lift out the slices with a slotted spoon, draining off oil, and lay them on paper towels. Sprinkle salt lightly on the hot slices. Fry up all the squash, in batches, the same way.
- Arrange a single layer of fried squash in the bottom of the marinating dish and scatter 4 or 5 basil leaves on top. Stir up the marinade and drizzle over a couple of spoonfuls. Scatter some of the garlic slices on the squash too. Layer all the squash in the dish this way, topping each layer of fried slices with basil leaves, garlic and marinade. All the seasonings should be used—drizzle any remaining marinade over the top layer of squash.
- Wrap the dish in plastic and marinate the squash for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight in the refrigerator. If chilled, let the squash return to room temperature before serving.
Source: Lidia Bastianich (as found on page 252 of the book “Lidia’s Italy”)
One of America’s best-loved chefs, Lidia Bastianich hosts a popular cooking television show on PBS, she’s a best-selling cookbook author, a restaurateur and owner of a food and entertainment business.
This dish, featuring vegetables of the season, will be a welcomed addition to your traditional Thanksgiving table.
Houston restaurant journalist Cleverley Stone brought Bastianich to FOX 26 Morning News to present her recipe. Click here to watch Bastianich and Cleverley prepare the pasta entree on FOX 26.
Makes 6 servings
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 plump garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced (1 cup slices)
- 3 cups butternut squash, cut in ½” cubes
- 3 cups cauliflower, cut in small florets (about 1-inch)
- 4 tablespoons small capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt or to taste plus more for cooking pasta
- ½ teaspoon peperoncino or to taste
- 2 cups (or a 28-ounce can) canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand
- 1 pound (dry) fettuccine or bavette
- 1 cup freshly grated pecorino
- A heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 14-inches diameter with a cover
- A large pot, 8-quart capacity or larger, with a cover, for cooking the pasta
- Pour the olive oil into the big skillet and set over medium-high heat. Scatter in the sliced garlic and let it start sizzling. Stir in the onion slices and cook for a couple of minutes to wilt. Spill in all the cut squash and cauliflower pieces, scatter the capers, salt and peperoncino on top and with tongs toss all together for a minute or so. Pour a cup of water into the skillet, cover tightly, and steam the vegetables for 2 or 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes along with a cup of water sloshed in the tomato containers. Stir well and cover; when the tomato juices are boiling adjust the heat to keep them bubbling gently. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are softened, uncover and continue cooking to reduce the pan juices to a good consistency for dressing the pasta, about 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste and keep at a low simmer.
- While the sauce is cooking, heat the salted pasta cooking water to a rolling boil (at least 6 quarts water and a tablespoon salt) . Drop in the fettuccine or bavette and cook barely al dente. Lift them from the water, drain for a moment then drop onto the simmering vegetables. Toss and cook all together for a couple of minutes, over moderate heat. Moisten the dish with pasta water if it seems dry; cook rapidly to reduce the juices if they’re splashing in the skillet.
- When the pasta is perfectly cooked and robed with sauce, turn off the heat. Sprinkle over the grated cheese, toss into the pasta and serve.