Summer squash, pine nuts, Parmigianno-Reggiano, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper. You might look at this pared-down list of ingredients, and be tempted, as I initially was, to gild the lily, perhaps with a spritz of lemon juice or a few drops of rosemary-infused oil, but trust me here — or rather, trust Deborah Madison — this recipe doesn’t need it.
Like many of the recipes in Madison’s newish cookbook, In My Kitchen, this one is an exercise in simplicity. Provided the ingredients are high quality — and here particularly, I urge you to seek out the best versions of each item that you can rassle up — it is a prime example of doing less for truly more-ish results. That means good olive oil, as Ina Garten would say; small, tender squashes (ideally from the farmers market); real Parmigiano-Reggiano (always a good choice); and flaky sea salt like Jacobsen or Maldon. And just like that, with a bit of savvy shopping and a couple easy steps, you have a memorable dish that’s vegetarian and gluten-free to boot.
- 1 pound mixed summer squash
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet until golden
- 10 large basil leaves, torn into pieces
- Herb blossoms, if available
- Slice the squash into 1/4-to-1/2-inch thick pieces (the size matters less than the consistency), then steam them or simmer in salted water for a couple minutes, or until just tender.
- When the squash is done cooking, arrange it on a platter. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and season with salt and pepper. Top with parmesan shavings, pine nuts, basil, and herb blossoms.