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Summer Squash and Lentil Pasta

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This warm lentil pasta salad is a perfect dinner for summer evenings. Leftovers will pack well for lunch, too. It's full of fresh flavors, including summer squash, roasted red pepper and parsley, and a lemon-butter sauce that makes the dish seem just indulgent enough. If you can't find green or black lentils as specified, regular brown lentils will do -- just be sure not to overcook them.

Summer Squash and Lentil Pasta
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 cup French green (de Puy) lentils or black beluga lentils, picked over and rinsed
8 ounces large shell pasta (I used whole wheat)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon, juiced)
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 small zucchini, sliced into super thin rounds
1/2 small yellow squash, sliced into super thin rounds
1/3 cup chopped roasted red pepper (I used jarred)
1/3 cup crumbled feta (2 to 3 ounces)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian/flat-leaf parsley
olive oil, for drizzling

In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in the lentils and reduce heat to a very gentle simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender to the bite. Drain off any extra liquid, stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, then toss with the lentils. Whisk together the melted butter, lemon juice, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Toss the pasta and lentils with the lemon-butter sauce, zucchini and yellow squash rounds, red pepper, feta, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a serving bowl and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.

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