2cupsdiced summer squash(though more is fine too if you have a large squash!)
1/4cupgrated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
Shredded fresh basil(optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost entirely browned, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and sprinkle with salt.
Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions. (I used orrechiette here and it took 10 minutes)
Stir in the onion and squash, cover, and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Remove the lid and add 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Drain the pasta and add it to the squash mixture along with the butter and Parmesan. Stir until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper as desired. (I didn't add any more salt but I did add pepper to the adult portions) Top with shredded basil if you'd like.
To make this vegetarian, omit the meat and add a can of drained white beans or garbanzo beans, or shrimp or even tofu.
You could use ground Italian sausage instead of the ground beef if you prefer.
Any kind of pasta will work though I prefer a smaller shape like orecchiette, elbows, or farfalle since they are similar in size to the meat and squash pieces.
Take out the portion of pasta water before you drain the pasta so you don't lose it all down the drain. It will add some body to the finished dish and make a very light sauce.
I like to top my own serving of this with fresh basil, though that's optional. Parmesan on top is great if you have it.