Summer isn’t even official yet and I’ve already succumbed to the wily ways of the summer squash.

In short.  I’m doomed.

It’s just that when you see them at the Farmer’s market, all cute and pattypan-like (and pattypan makes you think of pattycakes which makes you think of babies and nursery rhymes and the fact that you are not yet betrothed or anywhere close to it and then you have to buy them because you may not have a child but you can have cute little summer squash right at your fingertips and that is kind of the same thing, no?) and lined up in a row.  You are just so damn depressed excited that you just have to buy all five.

They are harbingers of good things to come.  You can feel it.

Maybe summer.  Maybe the man of your dreams.  Maybe (e) all of the above.


So you get home with these little squash that all but jumped stem-first into your cloth eco-friendly recyclable shopping bag.

And you are a bit dumbfounded and overwhelmed.  Because who knew this would all happen so soon?  Summer?  Now?

As a young, single, thoroughly unprepared summer squash momma myself.  I understand.


I felt lost and dazed and confused for a day or so.  Until I was hit with a large dose of girl power.

And thought.  “Alice Waters, the queen of slow, local, sustainable food.  The woman who’s foodie beliefs are basically everything I live and breathe for.  She’ll know what to do.”

And. She did.

This pasta is at once sweet and spicy, getting it’s hit from some jalapenos and red pepper flakes (the latter of which were not in the original recipe but I thought it rather prudent to add them in) and it’s sweetness from the corn and zucchini.  It’s a meal so simple and fresh flavored that you’ll swear you’re eating summer.  Even if it’s not June 21st yet.

This is my entry to Week Two of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food Cook-A-Thon.  Check out Mary of One Perfect Bite, Val of More Than Burnt Toast, and one of my med school friends, Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed for some more Alice Waters inspiration.


Summer Squash and Corn Pasta
Serves 5-6, adapted from Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse Vegetables

4 to 6 small summer squashes (I used a farmer’s market mix of pattypan and zucchini), chopped small
5 to 6 ears sweet corn (or 1 lb frozen corn)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb pasta
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon

1. Cut the squashes into small dice.  Cut the corn kernels from the cob.  Peel and chop the garlic and jalapeno finely.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet.  Saute the squash in the olive oil until tender and a little brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add corn, garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper flakes to the squash.  Cook a few minutes more.

3. Finely chop the cilantro.  Add the cilantro and butter to the pan.  Taste and correct seasoning.

4. Boil the pasta, add it to the pan and toss all together.  Squeeze one lemon’s worth of juice over the pasta.  Serve immediately.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted by Simona of Briciole.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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101 Responses to Alice Waters’s Summer Squash and Corn Pasta

  1. Good for you. While I adore winter squash, I am not as smitten by summer squash. I only planted 3 zucchini seeds in the garden because I didn’t want an overabundance of zucchini… but I have plans for them already. I am planning for the summer of the zucchini noodle. 🙂

  2. This is really nice and simple, not laden with sauce so the delicious veges have nowhere no hide

  3. Pam says:

    You did Alice proud!

  4. Simply Life says:

    looks like the perfect summer dish!

  5. Ha ha , man of ur dreams , u know what , ur arent alone , i dream of him all the time too 🙂
    But he seems to be happier in my dreams u know :-))
    Sighhhh…ha ha ha!

  6. Ok my batt is down and wanted to get that fast while i type this!
    Alice waters will love u for this !
    And that dish is very very very pretty babe!

  7. Last year was the first time I cooked with pattypan squash and ended up just chopping and roasting it ever time. This is a great way to use it!

  8. bellini says:

    You have me convinced in a torrential downpour that summer really is here Joanne. That’s the power of pasta!

  9. What an awesome thing you are all doing! Bloggers are the best!

  10. Lea Ann says:

    Love this recipe and will be trying it soon. I agree about what you say about Alice Waters.

  11. OohLookBel says:

    Mmm, delish. I’ve never heard of pattypan squash before, but yes, it reminds me of patty cakes that are also… delicious.

  12. donna-ffw says:

    Can always count on you for fabulous healthy vegetable laden meals. You continue to be awesome. Missed u.

  13. now that simply screams summer! The corn, the pasta, the squash. I am in love! Give it to me!

  14. Julie says:

    What a great dish using summer squash. Beautiful colors and flavors.

  15. Vivienne says:

    what, its not officially summer there? im so sick of the cold cold winter here that im already anticipating summer here.

    this dish def looks like sunshine on a plate…wish i can have a piece of that summer over here!

  16. Claudie says:

    One thing I love about your recipes is how colorful they always are! It always makes them look so tempting, and does this one.
    Regarding the summer: I know what you mean… the heat hit San Francisco this week, and I’ve been grilling since Sunday. Absolutely incredible!

  17. Shannon says:

    I love patty pan!!! This is such a great combination of things… I’m all about squash and corn right now!

  18. Joanne says:

    The fresh fruit and produce this time of year is so delicious … Bring on summer 🙂

  19. Barbara says:

    That’s a perfect, happy summery dish, Joanne. I’ll be making this one for sure!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I’m drooling. What a fun and fresh salad. I haven’t made a pasta salad in ages. Definitely printing this one out.


    p.s. I THINK I reported my commenting issues to blogger but it goesn’t really give an option to report a problem, only post a question in some forum. I guess we’ll see.

  21. Taryn says:

    Looks amazing, Joanne. Now I know what the make when the CSA starts overwhelming me with summer squash!

  22. sofia says:

    oooh, this pasta salad is totally picnic AND pot-luck worthy. lovely.

  23. Love the colours of this dish! I bet it is as nice eaten warm or cold 🙂

  24. Candace says:

    So fresh and delicious! I could eat the whole bowl. I love the addition of cilantro. Yum! Have a beautiful weekend!

  25. Mary says:

    Joanne, this looks wonderful. It’s great to have a recipe like this in the hopper for the 4th of July. This is great picnic and BBQ food. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  26. I always forget about Alice Waters. Her recipes are perfect. Always. Hope this is indeed a harbinger of good things to come!

  27. Eliana says:

    I don’t think summer squash will make me get weak in the knees like it does to you, but I would certainly happily dig into this salad. Looks delicious.

  28. brandi says:

    I know it. I bought some zucchini last week, and I know I’m going to regret it soon when ours starts to come up in the garden. it’s just so hard to resist!

  29. Lori says:

    I bought both heirloom tomatoes and cue ball squash at the FM last weekend even though we are going to be overloaded with it from our garden in a week or so! I just couldn’t hold out any longer. I will definitely be trying this!

  30. Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies. This pasta looks like a great simple weeknight meal (wheels turning for next week’s meal plan . . .)

  31. Catherine says:

    A great salad for a bbq! Blessings, Catherine xo

  32. Dana says:

    We are just getting asparagus in our markets (!) but I will certainly keep this gorgeous plate in mind for when summer does make an appearance. I often look at her recipes and am turned off by the simplicity. Like how can she be so revered for putting together such simple things. But, of course, that is what makes her revered. When you have ingredients that are perfect, allow them to shine. Have a great weekend Joanne!

  33. I m so much like you.I have been buying mangoes [even sour ones] since March in the name of summers.This squash mix looks amazing- never tasted pattyan.Need to lay my hands on one soon.I love the vast variety of recipes from books & chefs the you bring to us via your blog- Thanks so much!

  34. I am actually loving that shape of pasta. I like making different shapes and colors of pasta and this is simply amazing 🙂

  35. sweetlife says:

    girl power!! squash, cilantro, jalapeno and pasta..what’s a girl not to like!


  36. Amy says:

    What if I told you that my kids fought over who gets the purple crayon, threw books, and pushed each other until one fell on the tile floor…all before 7am. Would you still want them?

    Went to the Farmer’s market last night and bought way too many apricots. Should have bought summer squash. Next week.

  37. I fall prey to the loveliness of summer squash, too. I’m definitely saving this recipe for when this happens next.

  38. Lora says:

    What a luscious looking pasta salad. Yum.

  39. I would not have thought to put corn in with my pasta, but you’re right it would add a certain sweetness that would be fresh and surprising.

  40. This looks delish. I feel guilty eating too much pasta, so I love making recipes that bulk it up with tons of veggies. This is going to be on my list of things to make as soon as my new kitchen is all unpacked!

  41. Great looking dish, definitely even better with the added heat! Love it!

  42. Wonderful salad recipe. It epitomizes summer. However, it’s not as wonderful as the fact that you used the word “harbinger” in your post. You rock.

  43. Shanon says:

    what cute of pasta is that? i love it!

  44. Shanon says:

    as in cut, not cute.

  45. marla says:

    A perfect buttery & garlicky summer pasta…I love squash too. #addictive 😉

  46. Ben says:

    OMG I love making pasta with corn and zucchini. It was always one of my favorite summer dishes when I was in Ohio. This would make a great lunch right now.

  47. Kelly says:

    I really enjoy pasta salads in the summertime particularly when combined with interesting vegetables – summer squash is one of my favourites. Also like the inclusion of pepper flakes and jalapeno… sounds delish!

  48. Looks perfect for this summer 😀 Yumm

  49. Pattypans are definitely the cutest of all the squash kingdom.

    Cheers! – Donna

  50. Big Dude says:

    Looks very summery Joanne

  51. That Girl says:

    We’ve already succumb to zucchini over here!

  52. So fresh and easy! Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies.

  53. Victoria says:

    Looks like summer to me! I’m a huge fan of summer squash (and winter squash), and pasta of course, and corn is way up there as well… so yeah. This is awesome 🙂

  54. Love pattypans! This looks delicious.

  55. Reeni says:

    I’m already in zucchini love too! I haven’t hit on the corn yet – the two together with pasta? Yes, please! This is what summer is all about! I thought you were doing a year of Julia Child – I love that that the scope is wider than that.

  56. What a perfect replacement for babies, Joanne. 🙂 Tastes delicious and will NOT keep you up all night. 🙂

  57. Ada says:

    Ooo what a pretty pasta salad. Very Alice Waters-esque. Squash is infinitely less stress-inducing than babies anyways.

    Have a great weekend girlie:)

  58. Jeanette says:

    This pasta salad from Alice Water’s is such a perfect summer salad! I can just picture picking up all these fresh veggies from the farmer’s market.
    I love Alice Water’s use of fresh produce in simple recipes.

  59. I’m so excited to see summer squash at the farmer’s market!! I can’t wait until the ones in my garden start growing…they still have a ways to go. I’m also super excited for fresh corn. Nothing beats summer corn. Alice Waters always knows her stuff, so I bet this is a great recipe.

  60. Love the color combo! Simply appetizing…

  61. I do love a good summer pasta dish. The cilantro in this must give it such life. Beautiful recipe!

  62. Yum! Even the colors look bright and summery. I always add red pepper flakes to recipes too!

  63. great summer salad 🙂 and heres to finding the man of your dreams this summer

  64. Maria says:

    This would make perfect summer picnic food – delicious recipe!

  65. Angela says:

    The farmer’s market is truly a magical and inspiring place. I love those little squash. I ask what they are every time just so I can here the gentleman who sells them say “pattypan.” I think he is catching on to me.

  66. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This looks so bright and happy. Is it weird to call food happy? Also, will you move to Dutchess county and be my personal chef 🙂

  67. I have always wanted to get Alice Water’s cookbook… Thanks for sharing this!

  68. Johanna GGG says:

    yes I get the pattypan = babies idea but pattypan actually makes me think of cupcakes and for a moment I thought maybe you were going to bake them into amazing cute cupcakes – it would work and really be much more satisfying than kids (which I only say because I have a screaming one in the house as I type but I am just biased – on a good day I would take kids over cupcakes1)

  69. Nadji says:

    Un plat de pâtes plein de saveurs et qui doit être très bon.
    See soon.

  70. Raina says:

    Wow! Now that is what I call a great pasta salad! Amazing flavors and love that squash too:)

  71. Ruth Daniels says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights!

  72. Beth says:

    This looks wonderful. Yes, it is summer and I couldn’t be happier!

  73. Simona says:

    Summer squash will never let you down. Or maybe it is The Unbearable Cuteness of Summer Squash. Anyway, the pasta looks great. Thanks for your contribution to Presto Pasta Nights!

  74. Tammy says:

    Hey Joanne!!! 🙂 This dish looks so fresh and delicious! Those colors and flavors are a beautiful combination- scrumptious I am sure!


  75. A simple yet very delicious pasta dish!

  76. Kerstin says:

    I love, love, love summer squash too, so this is right up my alley – yum!

  77. Carolyn Jung says:

    This sounds fabulous, especially with all the lovely summer squash starting to come to market.

  78. Looks so delicious ..and what a beautiful combo of ingredients!

  79. Perfect summer picnic dish 🙂

  80. teresa says:

    the pasta looks just incredible, i would love a big bowl of that for dinner tomorrow. delicious!

  81. La Liz says:

    Just watched “Julie & Julia” . . . how about cooking through one of Waters’ cookbooks, in “Alice & Joanne” fashion? (Okay, maybe after you finish med school — first things first!) Waters’ recipes are, bar none, classic and baby squash never had it so good. Brilliant interpretation, J.

  82. Megan says:

    This pasta sounds amazing. It is going on my to-make list for the summer. Maybe minus the jalapeno though because I am a wimp.

  83. That looks SO delicious and summery! Your pattycake rant just made me giggle… and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have the rhyme stuck in my brain for the rest of the night.

  84. Cara says:

    You.Are.Hilarious. That is all 🙂

    PS I must admit I wasn’t overly excited about the recipe till I saw the cilantro and spiciness – but I bet that totally makes it! yum!

  85. aipi says:

    Flavorful n appetizing ~ it tempts me even when I am full and it’s midnight here 😀
    US Masala

  86. Those little pattypans are my favorites, mainly because they’re just so cute! This pasta dish looks so summery and delicious- Alice Waters rocks! 🙂

  87. Love that curly pasta and looks so flavorful

  88. Veronica says:

    I can’t resist the pattypan squash either, though it’s never reminded me of babies in a roundabout way–you’re such a crazer! lol

  89. Miriam says:

    This post made me smile, and the pasta looks perfect! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  90. This folder is very special and delicious

    I’m from Brazil, if you can, visit my blog, he has the option to English. Come a little bit of Brazilian recipes

    See you soon in

    Daniel Deywes

  91. Shannon says:

    oh wow, what a delicious recipe!!!! i have to get more creative with my summer squash 🙂

  92. Summer starts tomorrow officially so you are just a bit ahead of the times 😉 Lovely mix for a pasta salad!

  93. Jen_from_NJ says:

    I will save this for when I am inundated with zucchini – won’t be long! Looks great!

  94. Not sure I have ever seen a recipe so suited for summer, the colors and flavors here are perfect. I breathed a little sigh of relief because summer is not a figment of my imagination afterall. (I have seen WAY too many (e) all of the aboves in the past 5 weeks than I could have ever imagined).

  95. I don’t think I have the same reaction to summer squash, but I would definitely munch up this whole.entire.salad. YUM!

  96. And so it begins! The squash queen is back. Beautiful!

  97. grace says:

    i love that radiator-shaped pasta–such fun. i also love the look of golden kernels of corn…in any dish. well done, joanne!

  98. This sounds simple yet delicious! And I have zucchini coming out of my ears….

  99. This looks wonderful–I love all the colors, so fresh and pretty. 😉

  100. Such a lovely salad! I love summer, fruits veggies and the aromas!

  101. I love everything about this salad, including the pasta shape you chose and the bowl it’s in!

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