Franco's Zucchini and Yellow Squash “Pasta”

Franco's Zucchini and Yellow Squash “Pasta”
franco's zucchini and yellow squash "pasta" photo by carmen troesser

Who said vegetarian pasta has to be boring? Or even pasta, for that matter: At Franco, chef Matthew Abeshouse’s creative reimagining of vegetarian standards allows the ingredients to shine. Like his take on fettuccine Alfredo, which subs squash for noodles and cauliflower purée for cream sauce. Even better? Just a few simple tweaks make this meat-free stunner vegan. Editor's note: Franco has closed.


1 shallot, sliced plus ½ Tbsp. minced shallot
Olive oil for sautéing
1 head cauliflower, trimmed to florets
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
1 quart vegetable stock
¼ cup cream (optional)
Salt and pepper
2 oz. shiitake mushrooms
2 oz. oyster mushrooms
2 oz. trumpet mushrooms
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
½ Tbsp. minced garlic
1/8 cup shredded Parmesan (optional)
½ cup chiffonade of sorrel


• Make the cauliflower sauce: In a nonreactive pan, sauté the sliced shallot in olive oil until soft and colorless.

• Add the cauliflower and toss with the butter.

• Pour in the vegetable stock until it almost covers the cauliflower, add the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

• Simmer until the cauliflower is soft and falling apart. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

• Purée in a blender or food processor and reserve.

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

• Clean and cut the mushrooms into 1-inch-by-1-inch pieces. Place them on a sheet pan, toss lightly with olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Reserve.

• Julienne the zucchini and yellow squash, except for the seedy centers.

• In a sauté pan, sweat the garlic and the minced shallot in olive oil.

• Add the julienned squash and the roasted mushrooms and sauté until slightly soft.

• Add 1 cup of the cauliflower purée, the Parmesan, salt and pepper and simmer for 2 minutes.

• Finish with chiffonade of sorrel.

* To make this dish vegan, simply omit the butter, cream and Parmesan.