Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tomato, Summer Squash, Cannellini bean Ragout


Wonderful produce beckons all throughout the summer, from beautiful heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn, summer squashes, and eggplant. As late summer approaches, I find myself doing everything I can to savor the last of the season.  At times, I end up with armfuls of produce and sometimes make a little extra sauce or soup to freeze for coming months when summer produce becomes a distant memory. I already have stacks of roasted tomatoes in the freezer ready to make my favorite roasted tomato soup in the coming months.

Although not ideal for freezing, this beautiful summer tomato, squash, and bean ragout perfectly marries the flavors of summer. It requires very little effort and comes alive with the addition of fresh herbs. Peak season tomatoes and summer squash mingle with flavorful, creamy cannellini beans, chiles, and aromas of fresh thyme, oregano, and basil.

I served this as a side dish to a Swiss chard, summer squash, and mushroom lasagna. For a hearty vegetarian main, serve over grains, pasta, or polenta.

Other summer squash and tomato favorites:

Tomato, Summer Squash, Cannellini bean Ragout
4 roma tomatoes, coarsely diced
1.5 lb summer squash (yellow and patty pan), diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 springs of thyme, stemmed
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped into thin ribbons
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For beans:
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1 chile de arbol
1/4 red onion, diced or 1 shallot, minced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
15 oz can cannellini beans

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the red onion or shallot. Cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes, then add 2 cloves garlic, chile de arbol, and a generous pinch of salt, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cannellini beans and stir to coat well. Add 1/2 cup of water if needed, and turn up heat. Cook until dry, do not overcook the beans.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped yellow onion, cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add 4 cloves garlic minced, crushed red pepper, a generous pinch of salt, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add summer squash, increase heat, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Add oregano, thyme, and basil; reduce heat to medium, add beans, stir to coat well, and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until the flavors meld together.

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