This dish is actually a creation of my 12 year old. A few months ago, we were talking about healthy options for dinners and, as she's a total pasta and carb freak like her dad, she started talking about pesto. As she spoke, she then brought in the idea of lemon and squash type veggies. I thought about it a bit and decided to give it a try the next day and we were all pretty pleased with the results. Though this resembles a Primavera, it's got plenty of Autumn squash and the addition of lemon, which ripens (at least on our trees) in Fall and Winter, we call it Pasta l'autunno ala Cassandra. So, without further delay, here it is:
1 pound whole wheat or whole grain pasta
1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 small squash sliced – I use zucchini, summer, crookneck, whatever
6-8 oz homemade or store bought pesto
Juice of 1 lemon
Start by cooking the pasta in salted water, I won’t tell you how to do that. In a separate pan (preferably a large’ish one since you'll be mixing the pasta, pesto and squash in it later on), pour in a bit of Olive Oil and start cooking the onion. For this dish, I like to cook the onion on low and let it go for about 4-5 minutes. Then, add the garlic but don't let the garlic sit for too long without stirring. After about a minute, throw in the squash and toss, coating the squash with the oil. You want to keep the squash on the firm side so only cook them for 3-4 minutes. Add the lemon juice when the squash is done and stir.
Immediately after the pasta's done, drain and put it into the onion/squash pan -- I like to reserve a cup or two of the pasta water in case you need to add a little later on. Spoon the pesto on top of the pasta and gently toss the whole thing together -- I find a set of tongs works really well for this. Guess what? It's all done! If you're looking to add a bit more protein, throw in some chicken breast or cannellini beans to the squash while it's cooking and/or add some freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.