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Farfalle and Squash with Parsley, Shallots, Lemon, Capers, and Goat Cheese

For a pasta and squash recipe that would marry the two ingredients in a light, flavorful way while avoiding blandness, we kept the skin on the squash to keep the pieces intact, then salted the squash to release excess liquid.

We finished the sauce with an acid, such as balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, or red wine vinegar, to give it a kick and paired the sauce with farfalle to best trap the bits of flavor-packed ingredients. (less)

A combination of zucchini and summer squash makes for a nice mix of color, but either may be used exclusively if desired.

Kosher salt works best for salting the squash because residual grains are easily wiped away.

4 medium zucchini and/or summer squash (2 pounds), halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 pound farfalle
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup capers , drained, rinsed, and rough chopped
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 pint grape tomatoes , washed and halved
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 ounces goat cheese , crumbled (about 1 cup)

1. Place the zucchini and/or summer squash in a large colander and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon kosher salt; set colander over bowl, and let stand 30 minutes until water drains from the squash. Spread squash evenly over double layer of paper towels; pat dry with additional paper towels and wipe off residual salt.

2. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in stockpot. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt (or 1 tablespoon table salt) and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and return to stockpot.

3. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke; swirl to coat pan. Add half of squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and slightly charred, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to baking sheet or large plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet, swirl to coat pan, and repeat with remaining squash.

4. Return empty skillet to medium-high heat; add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat pan. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned, about 1 minute. Add capers, lemon zest, pepper, and squash to pan; cook, stirring constantly, until flavors blend, about 30 seconds. Add squash mixture, remaining oil, parsley, tomatoes, and lemon juice to pasta in stockpot; toss to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling goat cheese over individual servings.