Summer Squash Spaghetti with Lemon & Herbs
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Several years ago I bought a Benriner turning slicer. It is a ridiculous (but fun) tool that sits in my cupboard 364 days a year. To justify hanging on to it, I pull it out every year, just once, at the start of zucchini season, when I set out to make one of my favorite spaghetti recipes, the very dish that inspired its purchase.
I had read about the turning slicer in Michael Chiarello’s Tra Vigne Cookbook, which extolled the tool for its ability to cut vegetables into long spirals, perfect for making cucumber salads or for preparing potatoes for the deep fryer or for turning out zucchini slices for this very spaghetti recipe. That sounded like fun, I thought, and I ran out to Fante’s to see for myself.
While the gadget works beautifully and while it, unlike some of my other slicers, poses no risk to my fingers, my experimentation has extended no further than this single recipe. Truthfully, I prefer the shape of the long thin wisps created by a mandoline.
While neither tool is required to prepare this pasta recipe, having one helps. The beauty of the dish lies in the delicateness of the zucchini and summer squash strands, which cook in the final minute of the assembly process while they’re being tossed with the just-boiled spaghetti.
The sauce for this pasta is simple: extra-virgin olive oil heated briefly with minced garlic, shallots, and crushed red pepper flakes. Lemon zest and lots of chopped basil and parsley add a touch of freshness. Grated Parmigiano Reggiano is a must.
I love this pasta. It’s simple and summery, and it always inspires me once again to unearth such a promising gadget. Maybe this summer will be different? Maybe we’ll take to feasting on whimsical cucumber nest salads and carrot and daikon radish slaws? Maybe we’ll grow accustomed to sliding our grilled steaks onto beds of crispy potatoes? It’s unlikely, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
Love my Benriner mandoline:
Have a nice weekend.Print
Summer Squash Spaghetti with Lemon and Herbs
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Diet: Vegetarian
Adapted from Michael Chiarello’s The Tra Vigne Cookbook
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. zucchini or yellow squash
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or less if you are sensitive to heat
- 1/2 lb. spaghetti or other long noodle
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, optional
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Using a mandoline or turning slicer, cut the squash into long thin strips. Alternatively, cut the squash with a knife as thinly as you are able. Place the sliced squash in a colander in your sink.
- Place the olive oil, shallots, and garlic in a large skillet. Season with a pinch of salt. Turn the heat to high. As soon as you see the oil beginning to shimmer, give the shallots and garlic a stir, cover the lid, and turn the heat to low. Cook for roughly 10 minutes, or until the shallots and garlic are very soft.
- When the pasta water boils, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Boil the pasta till al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, uncover the lid of the pan with the shallots and garlic. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and stir briefly.
- Drain the pasta over the colander containing the squash, then transfer the pasta and squash to the skillet. Add 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine. Season with pepper. Add the Parmigiano. Toss. Taste. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from the heat and add the herbs and lemon zest. Toss again to combine. Taste. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: summer, squash, spaghetti, zucchini, lemon, herbs
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
43 Comments on “Summer Squash Spaghetti with Lemon & Herbs”
I ran across your blog a few weeks back, LOVING it. I especially enjoyed this post, I use my Benriner mandolin all the time and have been trying to come up with a good excuse to buy the spinner – if nothing else, they are a blast to use! You’ve inspired me to buy one, I’ll try to get it off the shelf more than once a year though 🙂
The recipe looks amazing!
Thanks, Kelly — since posting this recipe, I have in fact used my turning slicer more than once. I might have to do a re-post where I take everything I’ve said back 🙂 No seriously, I think for some people, the turning slicer is a really nice option — you can’t cut yourself!
Oh yes, the little necessary gadgets that never get used! I like the addition of basil together with the zucchini. Another for my files since i eat a ridiculous amount of pasta. I´m always looking for new things to add. Your kids are adorable!
Love the look of that gadget but really love the photo of your children!
Thanks Janie and Paula, but looks can be deceiving…
Love my mandoline…and use it with no fear after purchasing kevlar gloves from Amazon. I could never make the pushing thing work for me and always used my fingers…a dangerous proposition. Those gloves are simply fantastic! And you really only need one, so buy a pair and share with a friend. I promise you’ll use that mandoline much more often!
Dee — your idea is brilliant! I think I’m going to purchase a pair myself. I received an email from a reader asking for video guidance on how to use the mandoline — she purchased the Benriner mandoline online — and I am so worried she is going to slice her fingers off. I think your kevlar gloves are the solution! They would also make a fun giveaway. Thanks so much for the great tips!
Made this recipe tonight and LOVED it. (Used my ancient ol’ mandoline without cutting off my finger for those who care.) LOVED that the squash cooked in the colander. LOVED that I was able to make it all in one pot. I made the garlic/pepper/lemon oil mixture (I used 2 T butter and olive oil) in the pasta pot while the spaghetti drained and then returned the pasta to the pot and tossed in the cheese, lemon zest, basil and parsley. So fresh and lovely for summer. I adjusted the salt and pepper to taste after it was all tossed and the cheese had melted. LOVED walking out to the garden to harvest the basil and parsley minutes before I served dinner. I have a house of men that get confused when there’s no meat on the table, so I served some leftover roasted chicken on the side. Cut it up on a wooden board and put it in the center of the table. LOVE eating like this. Thank you so much!
Joan — thank you so much for your nice comment. 1. So happy to hear you still have all of your fingers. 2. LOVE the idea of adding a little bit of butter — I bet that adds a really nice flavor. 3. Very jealous of your herb garden! Mine is not thriving. 4. My house of men (man, really) also is similarly confused when no meat is present… renewed hunger sets in shortly after dinner and, in turn, cabinets get scavenged for nuts and cans of small fish. 5. SO happy that the recipe was a success. Really, nothing makes me happier.
Looks like a great summer recipe! Wonderful for using up farmer’s market zucchini and herbs. Interesting gadget, as well. I’d never heard of it before!
I love this! Such a delicate looking dish. I also love that the added zucchini and squash boost the fiber content too. Great idea!
Husband doesn’t eat vegetables. I wonder if, with the right sauce (e.g. Alfredo, the only pasta sauce on his radar), this recipe might make him reconsider.
Whitney, hi! Definitely! I think an alfredo sauce sounds kind of amazing on this pasta.
Ali, I made this recipe and it was such a hit! And I’m so glad you introduced me to the mandoline- I bought it for the recipe and it’s awesome. I also used it to cut fennel for an orange and arugula salad to go with the pasta and it worked perfectly. Thanks so much!!! And give my love to the family 🙂
Aileen! You are too cute. So nice to hear from you. I hope to see you soon! xo
I used a WMF julienne peeler from William Sonoma and it works great on squash & zucchini. We loved this recipe, especially the addition of the lemon zest. This will be on our family summer menu.
Jennifer — So happy to hear this! Forgive me, what is WMF? Sounds like an awesome tool in any case. So happy to hear that you like the recipe.
Hello! I know this post is from awhile ago, but I was curious if you know of a way to freeze the zucchini spaghetti?
Hi Lauren! Sorry for the delay here! I’ve been out of town for a week. I think you could freeze the cooked zucchini spaghetti just as you would any pasta, but I worry a little about it turning to mush especially since both the spaghetti and zucchini are so fine. What do you think? Have you had success freezing spaghetti in the past? I have to admit I am not the best freezer.
Made this again last night for dinner. I love using 2 colors of zucchini when lucky enough to find both, so pretty. But more than that, this dish is so simple and so tasty. Highly recommend your readers try this if they haven’t already.
So nice to hear this, Lu! Thanks for writing 💕💕💕💕
Quick and easy recipe. I also added some sliced Kalamata olives and some fresh thyme. Delicious!
Love the idea of olives and thyme here! Thanks so much for writing.
Another alternative to spirializer (as they are called in England) which I find to be even better than mandoline is a box grater: simply slide the zucchini lengthwise across the side with the largest holes and, bingo, each strand comes out the just right skinny length and width (albeit not as curly).
p.s Though I haven’t tried this recipe yet I have yet to come across a recipe of yours that doesn’t work; a tribute to your recipes writing skills rather than my cooking skills.
This is a great tip, Inbal! Thank you so much for writing and for sharing. I love my box grater and always find it so satisfying to use — so fast and easy to clean. And thank you for your kind words … means a lot 🙂 🙂 🙂
This is a 10 star recipe. One of the best recipes I’ve made in recent memory. I made a few minor changes (used gluten free rigatoni bc that’s what I had, added bacon bc men in the house, used Aleppo pepper). Even without long spaghetti it was absolutely amazing. I will make on repeat all summer long. Tastes like summer. The lemon zest is just divine. Perfect summertime deck party dish. In love. Thank you.
So nice to read all of this, Mary 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes… so helpful for others to know that gluten-free pasta worked well here. I agree: tastes like summer!
this was amazing! i only had one zucchini so i added some chopped kale at the same time, delish!!!
Yum! I love adding greens to pasta 🙂 🙂 🙂
Ali this is yet another winning recipe from your website. I may be obsessed even. The only change I made was throwing some frozen peas on top of the zucchini in the colander before dumping the pot of al dente spaghetti and water over them. This is such a simple but spectacular dish and I have to say the leftovers cold are every bit as good as the hot dish. The zucchini makes you feel like you’re eating so much more pasta when you’re actually intaking so much veggies. It’s a win on every level. Thank you. Love your site and really love your IG too.
So wonderful to hear this, Nazanin 🙂 🙂 🙂 I love the idea of adding peas here. Others have added greens, which I would love, too — anything to up the veggie quotient is a move I love. Thanks so much for writing. And thank you as always for your kind words here and on IG 💕💕💕💕
Yum! So good. This recipe is going in my regular rotation for sure. Tasty, fresh and couldn’t be easier. Win! Next time I’m going to try adding mint 🙂
Great to hear, Brinn! Mint would be delicious 🙂 🙂 🙂
Please count me in,
This recipe was absolutely perfect. So
much flavor from the garlic, lemon and herbs. I love how the zucchini stayed slightly crunchy with texture. I recommend using the basil.
I used an old fashioned silver box grater to make the planks.
Great to hear Lori! Thanks so much for writing and sharing your notes. Love that you used a box grater… I never think to use mine that way anymore, but it is such an effective slicer.
This was delicious- I took liberties and substituted the chili pepper for a fresh Fresno pepper 🌶 and added some big chunks of a fresh heirloom tomato right before serving. Today I’m having leftovers with castelvetrano olives! So tasty!
Yum! That all sounds amazing, Ruby!
Yummy Summery Doo!
This was really tasty! Love that zoodles are mixed in with spaghetti. Adding it to my rotation of go-to recipes.
Great to hear, Rosy! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
So delicious! Perfect for summer, but with the warm spaghetti, I’ll continue to make it year round. Found this recipe on IG when trying to figure out what to do with extra veggies. Also, my daugther isn’t a fan of tomato sauce, so she loved this alternative to traditional spaghetti as well.
So nice to read this, Jen! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂