July 27th, 2010

Ode to Zephyr


Zephyr is a breeze, a mild yet refreshing wind, hailing from the west. It is so named after Zephuros, mythic Greek god of the West Wind—considered the most benevolent of The Winds.

Zephyr is also a unique summer squash, a two-toned slender beauty: yellow with faint white striping and green-tipped at the blossom end. Do you know it? Tallahassee May introduced me to this delicious vegetable several years ago through her Fresh Harvest Co-op, and I look forward to its fleeting appearance each summer.


I am quite taken with Zephyr. Aside from its distinctive look–indeed attractive–it possesses other prized qualities worth this gush.

The flavor is slightly sweet and nutlike. Its texture is firm, yet pliable: not the least seedy, or watery. You can easily slice it into long ribbons that will retain their lovely shape in a saute.


With a bounty of squashes now filling our gardens, CSA baskets, and farmers markets, I have been considering different ways to highlight this paragon of summer in dishes, without becoming squash-weary.

And, I could readily imagine ribbons of zephyr squash tangled with ribbons of papparadelle. Soon after I had this notion, I came across a zucchini-shrimp-linguine recipe on Tracy’s blog, Amuse-Bouche for Two that followed a similar line of thought. Serendipity! That cinched it. Really, there is nothing new; we are all accessing from the same wondrous creative fount.

The recipe that I put together is ridiculously simple, and enormously satisfying: all designed to let the toasted goodness of Zephyr to breeze through….


Sauteed with some onion in a combination of butter and olive oil, the julienned strips make a lively tangle on their own.


Those interlacing ribbons like a liberal grind of black pepper. I think the dish is very good, even at this basic stage, but a crumble of chevre….even better.

It lightly coats while imparting bites with creamy tang.

I brought a bowl of this to a Sunday covered dish supper, where we all gathered to view slides of a Colorado Trail hike from our friends, Jen and Jenn. It was a favorite–even with the wee ones—who doesn’t love a toasty tangle of noodles?


1 medium Onion, sliced thin
4 Zephyr Summer Squash, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
2 T. Butter
1 T. Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
8 oz. Papparadelle or Fettuccini
2 oz. Goat Cheese

Heat skillet and melt butter with olive oil. Saute onion until translucent. Add julienned strips of squash. Stir until the squash is coated with butter/oil, and gets tangled up with the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until soft and tender, but still with bite.

Boil pasta in salted water, according to package directions. Drain, but reserve a cup of pasta water.

Toss ribbon pasta into skillet with zephyr. Toss well, adding some reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and black pepper. Add crumbled goat cheese and serve.

Serves 4-6

Posted in Pastas, Recipes, Vegetables

21 Responses to “Ode to Zephyr”
  1. Tracy Says:

    Oh, it looks sublime! The goat cheese sounds like a perfect fit. I love your Ode to Zephyr :)

  2. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    I’ve been seeing the two-toned slender Zephyr all over the farmer’s market and have been intrigued with the bi-color. I’ve made zucchini with pasta previously and loved the supple texture that this squash adds to this dish.

  3. FOODESSA Says:

    Nancy…thanks for capturing such a delightful summer squash. I vaguely remember having seen it at our market a few years back. I never had a chance to try it or else I would have remembered.
    You can be sure that I won’t miss buying a slightly sweet and nutty variety again ;o)

    Very appetizing recipe I’d like to have at my table tonight for supper…not much on the horizon if you know what I mean ;)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  4. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Yes, I know it. Yes, I love it. No, I’ve never used it like this. Yes, I will be using it like this soon (with a lot of coarse ground black pepper).

  5. rachel Says:

    Me too, I’m quite taken with Zephyr. Both of them. this looks and sounds very good. I made a kind of carbonara with zucchini which is nice but this sounds even better for these very hot days – the heat is back. I made tabbouleh with pesto alla Nancy yesterday!

  6. Michele Napoli Says:

    I have never seen this squash, and it is gorgeous.With the pasta and goat cheese it looks delicious. I love that we are all cooking seasonally with the same ingredients.

  7. Barbara Says:

    Your ode to zephyr is marvelous! It’s such a lovely squash and you have done it justice! Goat cheese is perfect with it and your photos are divine!

  8. Fluffy Says:

    both sorts of zephyr are indeed delightful and welcome in this household…..

  9. Mary Says:

    What a fabulous summer dish. It really looks delicious. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  10. gigi Says:

    beautiful…i’ll definitely plant some next year.

  11. foodonfifth.com, Teresa Blackburn Says:

    I, too, love this beautiful yellow & green squash…I found some a few weeks ago at the Nashville Farmer’s Market and had to have some of them.
    I looked at them in a bowl for a few days, then I photographed them and then I roasted them. Nature continues to amaze.

  12. Dana Says:

    Made it, loved it, great summer fare- added a few sliced “Sun Gold” cherry tomatoes that are ripe and abundant in my garden to decorate the serving on the plate.

  13. claudia @ceF Says:

    ok, so that’s perfect…
    (nice to be back on your blog… too long gone from everything)

  14. Patrick O'Rourke Says:

    This from a California ex-pat living on the third coast:

    I miss you Oh, Zephyr
    You race through my mind,
    You come and you go and
    you leave me behind.

    If I was a Zephyr,
    I’d fly through the sky,
    I’d be cool and I’d be quick,
    and I’d soar oh so high.

    I’d touch the souls of many,
    with my swift and airy hand.
    I’d go where my heart went
    ‘cross the sea and the land.

    Oh Zephyr, Oh Zephyr
    you race through my mind,
    you bring me sweet memories
    of the things I left behind.

    Thanks Nancy, good work,


  15. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hey PO—LOVE your CA ex-pat friend’s poem–a true ode to zephyr—many thanks for the fun share!!!! wonderful!

    Dana–I am growing those sun gold cherry tomatoes, too. they are so good, and a great garnish for the dish

    claudia–nice to have you back in food blogosphere

  16. Leisa Hammett Says:

    Ewww. Thanks for adding a cool breeze of thought via these visuals upon my return to broiling Nashville from crisp Seattle where Dee and I spent the equivalent of about two full days at Pike Place Market. Serious eye candy and squeeze on the wallet and inflator of the belly. Slurp. Lick. Ahhh.

  17. nancy Says:

    Ooh, I love this! I can’t get enough of the summer squash myself, and combining the slender ribbons with fettuccine and goat cheese looks absolutely delicious!

  18. Shanley Says:

    I also made this — it made a great lunch this week. It was delicious! I accidentally carmelized the onions, and used whole wheat fettuccine. It turned out well, though. It was so easy, so tasty, and there’s enough time in the squash season to make this again. yay!

  19. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Shanley—I rarely consider caramelizing onions an accident! (meaning a mistake) Your variation sounds terrific. very good to use whole wheat pasta, too.

  20. tonie Says:

    Thanks for the lovely recipe. I haven’t used my Mafler mandoline julienne slicer in so long I almost forgot how to insert it. I still haven’t developed a taste for goat cheese, so I subbed a mixture of gouda, fontina and reggiano parmesan with lots of ground black pepper. I had leftover chicken from a purchased roasted one and added that. It made a wonderful light easy dinner.

  21. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Tonie–you’re very welcome! I’m glad the recipe inspired you to use your nice mandoline and your substitutions sound delicious.

Comment on This Post: