It’s close to that time of year again as Family Weekend looms. The crisp fall air is imbued with an aura of possibility: the possibility to finally get a meal on-campus, the possibility of your parents discovering those things you don’t tell them about on the phone, the possibility of an eruption of family drama and also the possibility of your parents discovering that you really have grown and matured.
If you’re aiming for the latter, or if perhaps you already have a perfect relationship with your parents, then maybe you’d like to do some grown-up, yuppie activities with them such as a trip to the farmer’s market and, afterward, surprising them with a nice dinner. Well, you are in luck, because I am going to tell you how to do just that by making a delightful, healthy meal! You will need summer squash and tomatoes for the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, which can be picked up at the grocery store if you do not find time to visit the farmer’s market.
1 lb. of pasta (your choice)
several summer squashes (1 or 2 large ones, 3 or 4 small)
4 or so fresh tomatoes (optional)
2 cups nice olive oil
olive oil for drizzling (1.5 cups approximately)
1.5-3 tablespoons minced garlic (to the taster’s preference)
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to a high temperature (around 400 degrees) and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Clean and slice your summer squashes about one centimeter thick. Lay the slices of squash on a broiling pan if you have one, a baking pan works as well, drizzle olive oil over them and sprinkle salt. Once the oven is ready, place the tray on a rack positioned near the top of the oven.
While they broil, heat the olive oil and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Once the olive oil has heated up, add the minced garlic to it and sauté until the garlic is golden and aromatic. The typical Aglio e Olio sauce only uses one to two tablespoons of minced garlic, but because I have added squash and tomatoes, I recommend increasing the garlic for the recipe.
Once the large pot of water has come to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the back of the box. Chop the tomatoes thickly and place them in a large serving bowl. Make sure to check on the broiling vegetable and shuffle them on the pan with a fork or spatula. Once they look soft and a fork pierces them, remove them from the oven and add them to the serving bowl with the tomatoes. After the pasta has cooked, place it in the serving bowl as well. Pour the Aglio e Olio sauce over the top and mix until everything is evenly coated. If the pasta is too dry, add a little more olive oil. When my cousin and I made this together, she marinated pork chops with chopped rosemary, minced garlic and Dijon mustard, which we pan fried those to accompany the pasta; so if you have some more time before your parents show up, try that, or make a side salad.
Enjoy prepping and preparing this dish to impress your parents. They will be proud, stuffed and satisfied!