I pulled this pasta together one night when I had leftover sausage and summer squash in the fridge and a daughter eager to help out in the kitchen–the pesto came as much as an activity as an element of the dish. We went to the garden together to pick the basil and Noemi pounded the pesto together in our mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a blender and add warm water by the tablespoon as needed to blend.
12 ounces whole grain pasta
2 chicken sausages, cooked and thinly sliced
1 recipe Melted Squash, using any fresh summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash, etc.)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Sea salt, to taste
¼ cup walnuts
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil and start pasta.
While pasta is cooking, heat sausage and squash in a large, covered saute pan over medium heat.
Pound garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt. Add walnuts and continue to pound. Add a handful of basil leaves and pound to a paste. Add another handful and pound that to a paste. Whisk in olive oil and vinegar. (Alternatively, you could just blend all the pesto ingredients in a food processor … but it’s not as fun.)
Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water, and return pasta to pot. Toss squash and sausage with pasta. Whisk pasta water into pesto and add to pot. Toss for 2 minutes to thoroughly coat.