In case you haven’t heard yet, Meatless Monday is now a thing.
Are cows and chickens behind the Meatless Monday mania? Who knows, but I like the idea of encouraging people to go without meat at least one day a week. It’s not asking a whole lot. No one is strong-arming you to go full-on vegetarian. Me, I gave up red meat and “the other white meat” over a year ago, just because. Because I honestly prefer the taste of vegetables and grains and seafood and I’m lucky enough to live in a place where it’s abundant, fresh and accessible.
A meal without meat is not just a bunch of side dishes. You can find meatless recipes everywhere, including the spots I mentioned above. A new favorite source for me is this book:
Always in Season by Elise Richter was recently put out by Islandport Press, a local publisher dedicated to New England authors and artists. I adore the colorful, cheerful illustrations by Teresa Lagrange. The recipes are predominantly vegetable (or fruit) based, but there are some good ones for you meat and fish lovers too . So far I’ve bookmarked Maple-Glazed Scallops with Carroty Rice Pilaf, Lemony Spinach and Quinoa Soup, Pumpkin Lasagne and a Blueberry Bundt Cake.
The book follows the New England growing season month-by-month and the recipes make use of what you’ll find at the farmers’ market any time of the year. If it’s September, it must be zucchini! So let’s make roast it up, caramelize some onions and mix it all together with some creamy ricotta and herbs for dinner tonight. It’s the perfect choice for Meatless Monday!
Pasta with Summer Squash and Caramelized Onions adapted from from Always in Season by Elise Richer and illustrated by Teresa Lagrange
3 medium summer squash (green or yellow), each one quartered then cut into 3/4″ slices
4 Tbsps. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 yellow onions, halved crosswise and cut into 1/3″ slices
12 oz. farfalle (bowtie pasta) or other shape of your choice
3/4 cup fresh ricotta
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Spread the cut squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Roast in the oven. After 15 minutes, remove squash from oven, season with 1.2 tsp. salt and some freshly ground pepper. Stir with a spatula and return to oven for another 15 minutes, until very soft and browned in some spots. Set aside.
Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add onion slices and toss to coat. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook onions, without disturbing them, until the ones on the bottom are lightly browned. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and stir. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the onions are very soft and brown. (This can take up to 45 minutes or so – be patient). Remove from the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar.
Cook pasta until al dente. Scoop out one cup of pasta water, the drain. Place ricotta in the bottom of a large serving bowl and whisk in a few spoonfuls of the hot pasta water, until the cheese is cre
amy and smooth. Add pasta, roasted squash, onions, basil and parsley, Parmesan and a generous grind of black pepper. Fold gently to combine. Add salt if necessary. Sprinkle nut on top, then serve with additional Parmesan if desired.
Would you like a copy of your Always in Season? I have one to give away, thanks to Islandport Press. Here are a couple of ways you can win…
1. Leave a comment here (see where it says “leave a comment” at the top of the post -click on it), letting me know you’re interested.
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Thanks – looking forward to hearing from you!