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NEW BAKING CLASS:  Make Your Pie and Eat It, Too!  Basics of American pie baking just in time for Thanksgiving.  Given two Saturdays in November:  November 7 and November 14, 1 – 4 pm.  6 openings for each date.  $55. per student includes pie making ingredients/instruction, dessert, coffee, and digestif (after dinner drink), if desired.  See CURRENT CLASSES above right.

My good friend Pam is a marvelous alto.  She’s a fine cook, too. I know this because she and her husband are in our wine group and I get to sample her tasty fare fairly often. Here she is looking gorgeous and cooking at a house we rented near the Paso Robles wine country a couple of years ago.

IMG_5059This summer I discovered another talent of Pam’s; she, along with her husband, is an avid, generous gardener.  Arriving last week at our house for a laid-back deck burger fest complete with homemade ice cream, she walked in brandishing a bouquet of sumptuous late summer herbs and two bright-as-sunshine summer (yellow) squash. Several very busy days went by and while I had pulled some herbs out for a dish or two, I hadn’t touched the summer squash. I’ve been on a serious diet for months and hadn’t had a bite of pasta all summer long. When I DO make pasta, it’s usually a good-quality whole-wheat variety and rarely white pasta.  But yesterday it was time for a treat; I pulled out the Cipriani’s pappardelle and began grilling the squash with some big Portobello mushrooms.  Try this easily-made-vegan dish for your end-of-summer grilled supper:

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PAM’S SAGE PASTA WITH GRILLED SUMMER SQUASH AND PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS

serves 4

No grill? Cook the squash and mushrooms in a skillet or roasted in the oven.

For vegan version, follow green instructions/ingredients. The large mushroom and squash pieces give this dish a really “meaty” feel. For a vegetarian version, simply leave out the bacon.

  • 3 pieces thick bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled (Skip for vegan version)
  • 2 summer (yellow) squash, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 3 Large Portobello mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 each tablespoon butter or olive oil (2 tablespoons olive oil for vegan version)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh sage (Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish.)*
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 large tomatoes, small dice (Reserve 1/3 cup for garnish.)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (1 cup rice or nut milk for vegan version)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Sub with a garnish of toasted bread crumbs for vegan version)
  • 1 pound cooked and drained Pappardelle pasta–Cipriani’s is my favorite (Vegan pasta for vegan version.)
  1. Set cooked and crumbled bacon aside, if using.
  2. Heat grill to medium high. Toss squash and mushrooms with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Grill, turning midway, until grill marks are quite dark and the squash is tender. Remove and set aside.  Slice mushrooms  into 1/4-inch pieces. If grilling indoors on the stovetop in a grill pan, you may have to grill in batches. (Cook pasta now if you haven’t done so already.)
  3. In the meantime, heat butter/oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium flame and cook onions until quite soft. Add garlic, a good pinch each of crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, 2 tablespoons minced sage, spinach, and all but 1/3 cup diced tomatoes. Cook another minute or two, stirring, or until spinach begins to wilt.
  4. Stir in cream or rice/nut milk along with Parmesan cheese, if using.  Lower heat and simmer 2-3 minutes.  Add grilled mushrooms and chopped, cooked bacon, if using.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Gently add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir. Taste again and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. To serve, divide pasta between four bowls adding reserved grilled squash along side, on top, or around.  Garnish with the reserved tomatoes and minced sage.    Top with toasted bread crumbs for vegan version.

*Fresh sage is usually available in grocery stores, but if you can’t locate it, stir in 1/4 teaspoon dried, rubbed sage.  Taste and add more if you like.  Skip the sage garnish, perhaps substituting chopped fresh parsley instead.

{printable recipe}

WINE:  White Burgundy  or Chardonnay.

DESSERT:  Sliced fresh peaches with a drizzle of Amaretto or apples with cheese.

Sing a new song,

Alyce