Spinach Spaghetti with Garlicky Summer Squash

Whenever I buy a bunch of mint, it is most likely for a single recipe that calls for only a small amount, and I end up watching the remainder of the mint wilt in the back of the refrigerator until it’s brown and quite morose. This recipe calls for a decent amount of the fragrant herb, and whatever mint is left from your batch can be used the next day in a fruit salad, tossed with vegetables and wheat berries, or perhaps blended in a refreshing smoothie. Tarragon is another herb that I don’t often cook with, but a little bit goes a long way in this pasta dish, and the green herbs look spectacular with the spinach spaghetti, offering a new twist on a pasta and vegetable dish.

Ingredients (for about 3 good-sized servings): 3 yellow squash sliced 1/3 inch thick, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, 1/2 cup chopped mint, 8 oz. spinach spaghetti, 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup plus 1 or 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground pepper

Recipe: Place one layer of squash slices in a deep baking dish. Sprinkle them with a pinch of kosher salt. Heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Finely dice the garlic and add it to the oil. Saute for a few minutes, careful not to burn the garlic. Drizzle a little of the oil and garlic mixture over the layer of squash and sprinkle a little tarragon and mint. Layer more squash slices on. Drizzle more oil and garlic on. Continue until all of the squash is in the baking dish and coated with the oil and garlic mixture. Sprinkle more tarragon and mint onto the squash, reserving a little of each herb for the end of the dish (or just chop up more herbs the following day). Cover the squash with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Meanwhile, light a grill pan or grill and drizzle it with olive oil. Using tongs, place the squash slices onto the grill and pour any excess oil and garlic mixture over them. Grill over high heat until they have nice grill marks, a few minutes on each side. Add a few halved cherry tomatoes to the grill pan. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Transfer the squash to a cutting board and cut into thirds.

Use a small ladle to skim a few spoonfuls of starchy pasta water off of the top and set aside. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, and immediately return it to the pot over low heat. Drizzle with olive oil to keep it from sticking. Add the squash and cherry tomatoes. Add the extra pasta water by spoonfuls if the pasta needs it. Toss well. Sprinkle with a pinch of chopped mint and tarragon. The halved cherry tomatoes should be cooked enough and tossed so that they release a little juice into the pasta. Add more olive oil if necessary. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and serve immediately.

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