Welcome to summer, my friend!  I hope you’re ready because it looks like it’s going to be a hot one!

Honestly, I’m never ready for summer in Tucson.  It’s so darn hot and when it feels like an oven outside, the last thing I want to do is fire up my oven inside!

Some days it’s just too hot to cook!

Now I love a good salad, and I certainly eat a lot of them this time of year, but I can easily get myself into a rut.  So, when I’m on the hunt for new recipes, my inspiration always comes from what’s in season at the farmers market and right now what’s in season is one of my fav’s…..patty pan squash.

I’ll admit I have been known to go a little crazy when I start seeing the patty pan’s at the farmers market.  Without fail, I end up buying way too many which means I’m always trying to find new ways to incorporate them into my meals.

Recently, I’ve been spiralizing ALOT and using the squash “zoodles” in place of cooked pasta.  I love the idea of using zoodles in place of pasta – they’re much lighter than pasta which is perfect for this time of year.

But we all know you can’t have a great pasta dish without a great sauce and one of my favorite sauces is Puttanesca.

If you’re not familiar with puttanesca, it’s a robust Italian sauce chock full of fresh tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil and parsley.  It’s amazing!

Typically this sauce is simmered on the stove, but I’m going to tell you how to make a simple “no cook” version and I promise, you won’t break a sweat. 😉

To begin, spiralize 2 medium sized summer squash and place them in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half; 3 anchovy fillets, chopped; 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut in half; 2 tbs. capers and a 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes.  Toss this all together with 3 tbs. garlic infused olive oil.  The anchovies and the olives have a good amount of saltiness so I typically do not add any additional salt but you can certainly add a few pinches if you like.

Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes so the flavors marry and then add the sauce to the zoodles.  Top the dish with about 3 tbs. of chopped fresh parsley and that’s it……you have just created zoodles with fresh puttanesca sauce!  No sweat, right?

The measurements for this recipe are simply a guideline for you.  Feel free to adjust the amounts and/or the ingredients to suit your tastes.  For example, if you don’t like anchovies, you could add 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.  If you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you could add canned plum tomatoes.  I would suggest using San Marzano tomatoes – they have the best flavor.  And if you don’t have garlic olive oil, you could grate some fresh garlic into a dish of olive oil and let it sit until it absorbs the garlic flavor.  In a pinch you could even use garlic powder in place of the fresh garlic.

If you wanted to bump up the protein in this dish, adding some cannellini beans or tuna (I like this one) would be great options.  I think they both go really well with the rest of the ingredients.

Summer is here and with recipes like this one, you can still enjoy no fuss meals that are full of flavor AND keep your cool!

Give this recipe a try…..I think you’ll definitely agree!

Buon Appetito!

tomato zoodle puttanesca