Author: Luisa Perkins
•11:07 AM
I never get tired of eating summer squash, but my family doesn't always share my enthusiasm. A couple of years ago I searched through my recipe books to find some new and exciting way to showcase (or hide) all the zucchini we were getting from our CSA share. I didn't have to look far; after Julia Child, the cookbook author whom I consult most often is Marcella Hazan.

Marcella's Italian Kitchen features "Il Fricandò di Casa Mia." A fricandò (pronounced "free-can-dough," NOT "frickin' doo") is a mix, a hodge-podge, or a medley. In summers past, I have adapted this recipe depending on what I have had on hand, either from the garden, from the Farmer's Market, or from the CSA. Here's a loose guideline:

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 ripe plum (or other) tomatoes, chopped
2 medium zucchini or other summer squash, chopped
Olive oil or 1/2 stick of butter (or both)
Salt and pepper

Optional and Delicious:
1 bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
2 ears fresh corn, shucked (or leftover fresh corn, already cooked and cut off the cob)
Fresh snap beans, snapped
Fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped fine

Blanch the optional snap beans and/or corn in boiling water; cut the corn off the cobs and set aside. Saute the onion in the oil and/or butter over low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another few minutes.

Add all the other vegetables you're using, the optional herbs, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables have given up their juices, the resulting liquid has reduced down almost all the way, and the vegetables are tender (test the zucchini or a green bean). Add more salt and pepper to taste. Don't overcook it; you don't want a mushy mess. At least, I don't.

I made a very fine batch of this the other day; everyone here gobbled it down in a flash. I almost never grow the same variety of vegetable from year to year, but this year's summer squash is so delicious that I'll be buying the seeds for this variety again. In case you're interested, it's Baker Creek's Patissons Golden Marbre.

**Updated** I forgot to mention that this dish + rice = a terrific vegetarian meal. We are not vegetarians, but we do try to limit our meat consumption. So...there it is.

Some of you only visit me here when you're searching for a recipe; I can live with that. In fact, I'm making a Recipe Index on the sidebar just to make things easier for you. See? I love all my readers, no matter what.
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On 31/8/07 , Annette Lyon said...

YESSS!!! I have a ton of zuchini and summer squash sitting on my counter--gifts from two sources--and I haven't known what to do with them, because generally I'm the only one who will eat it. I certainly can't eat this much alone. Just what I needed.

On 31/8/07 , Catherine said...

Fantastic! I'm looking for ways to eat more squash, etc this fall...thanks!

On 31/8/07 , Jen said...

This looks wonderful! And Luisa, I'll send you that apple cake recipe and a WONDERFUL summer squash gratin recipe that I have from a Patricia Wells cookbook - it's become a favorite around our house. Give me a day or so, though - we're having company right now through tomorrow night.

On 3/9/07 , Julie said...

Oh that looks perfect. I love a recipe that calls itself a "loose guideline." :)

We belong to a CSA too. I've discovered that my kids will eat ANYTHING if I puree it and call it soup. (Hand-held food processor = mother's best friend.) They've been getting their vitamins that way all summer, and I love soup, but frankly I'm starting to miss the texture of actual vegetables.

On 4/9/07 , rjlight said...

surely they eat zucchini bread?

On 4/9/07 , dawn said...

That sounds wonderful. I like to fry/grill mine with garlic and onions also and add some tomatoes, avocados and feta cheese with some Greek seasoning or dressing. I have used it in cheeseburger soup also, which uses potatoes, and carrots and what ever other vegetable you want, and I puree it before adding browned ground beef and mushroom soup and cheddar cheese. The kids love it and don't recognize the vegetables in it.