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This dish really surprised me — it was amazing! I went looking to create something with yellow squash (we love it) and when I stumbled upon a recipe for “smothered squash” that included fresh basil, I got excited. I’m always looking for ways to use the basil I grow on the porch. It’s a weed and I can’t use it up. If you like yellow squash, this dish is a must-try!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil


It’s always best to prepare your ingredients before beginning to cook, particularly if you’re not the fastest with a knife. For this dish, chopping all the squash and the basil before cooking the squash may save you some frustration. Although you can chop veggies (among others) with a “regular” kitchen knife, you should always try to chop herbs with the sharpest knife you have. Herbs can easily bruise if they are abused by a dull knife.

Gather your squash — I found these beauties at the farmers market. Make sure your squash is slightly soft (it will be more flavorful).

Halve the squash and cut crosswise into thin slices (1/8-1/4 inch thick).

Gather and clean your basil.

Let’s take a moment to talk about basil — there is hardly anything that smells better than fresh basil. It is magically fragrant. Just inhale deeply before you chop it up. The scent of fresh basil must add years to my life. Wow. TIP: If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you may substitute dried herbs (if you must…) at about 1/4 the amount. So for this recipe, one heaping tablespoon of dried basil will give you a similar flavor.

Okay, now on to the chopping. As mentioned above, use a sharp knife (and I mean SHARP!).

Now that you have your ingredients prepped (mise en place is the phrase used to describe the preparation of ingredients prior to cooking — it is French for “everything in place”), let’s cook!

Divide the sliced squash into two equal piles – you will cook each group separately. Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. TIP: An easy way to know that oil is ready for cooking is by lifting the pan and watching the oil travel from one side to the other. If the oil travels quickly, then it’s been heated through and is ready!

Add half the squash to the skillet with a bit of salt and pepper (always season!) and saute for 5-8 minutes until the squash is lightly browned, turning regularly.

Once the squash has lightly browned, transfer to a serving bowl. Heat the other Tbsp. of oil and repeat the process with the remaining squash (remember to season with salt and pepper!).

After all the squash has finished cooking and is together in the serving bowl, gently stir in the fresh basil. The residual heat form the squash will wilt the basil and change its flavor profile to make magic. Yum!!