Fresh Summer Squash Casserole

Fresh Summer Squash Casserole

By: The editors of Relish magazine

Are you overloaded with zucchini?  If you have a backyard vegetable garden, you likely face the question every year: “What do I do with all these fruit?” And if you’re buying zucchini at the market, it’s hard to resist the low price and freshness of the zucchini on the shelves. Here’s a dish to make with that summer bounty.

When buying (or harvesting) zucchini, look for fruits that are less than 8 inches long, as they can become bitter as they grown larger. Make sure the flesh is firm, especially around the stem end.

Fresh Summer Squash Casserole

Whole-milk ricotta makes this casserole extra creamy, but the part-skim variety will work just as well.

2          tablespoons olive oil

3          cups cherry or grape tomatoes

3          garlic cloves, chopped

12        ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese

6          ounces feta cheese or combination of goat and feta cheeses

1/2       cup 2 percent reduced-fat milk

12        ounces short pasta, cooked and drained (such as gemelli or penne)

2          medium zucchini, cut into thin strips with a vegetable peeler

1/2       cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2       cup cracker crumbs

1          tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add tomatoes and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Combine ricotta, feta and milk in a large mixing bowl; stir well. Add cooked pasta, tomatoes, zucchini, cheese mixture and basil; stir gently.
  4. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs. Sprinkle butter evenly over top. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano, if using. Cover and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serves 8

Photo by Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn