It was the summer before seventh grade. I had just made my Clinton Town Hall stage debut as Moth in a professional production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I had a crush on blond Lysander and longed to be as elegant as the dancer who played Titania. After the last performance a cast party was held at a house on High Street, in the lavender garden. I had never seen anything so lovely. The grand old house was white and gauzy, doors flung open to the outside. Effortless art was everywhere, so many rich, beautiful objects assembled, living together, surrounding the lucky, lovely people. Most players/revelers were already outside, of course, as we were all immersed sylvan creatures after months of rehearsal and a week performing Shakespeare’s green world tale of confusion. I loved everything about this sparkling, silver night.
This pasta dish is like that night, perfect for an outdoor gathering of friends when all the produce is gorgeous and all it requires is the heat from the pasta, salt and fat from the bacon and cheese and acidity from the lemon. It cooks in its own juices. So simple and elegant and magical.
Orecchiette with Yellow Squash, Corn and Bacon
- 1 large yellow squash, grated into a bowl
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob
- 1 cup roughly chopped basil
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 4 strips thick cut bacon, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1/2 lb orecchiette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Asiago Cheese
- Freshly ground pepper
Step 1: Sprinkle salt onto squash and toss. Let this sit for approximately 20 minutes in a strainer, while you prep the other ingredients.
Step 2: Cook bacon and garlic cloves in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crisp. Discard garlic.*
Step 3: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook the pasta until it’s al dente then drain, but not thoroughly, and return it to the pot.
Step 4: Squeeze the squash to remove excess liquid and combine it with the pasta. Incorporate corn, basil, shallot, bacon, and olive oil. Toss with Asiago cheese and pepper. Squeeze a little lemon over the top before serving.
* I did not discard the garlic. But you might want to.