Zucchini and Penne with Hot Pepper Pesto
Mint and pistachios make this pesto herby and rich, and jalapeños give it a spicy touch.
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 handfuls grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, packed
- 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded
- 2 cloves garlic, pasted
- 3-4 tablespoons pistachios, toasted
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- About 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 small or 1 medium zucchini, halved, seeded and sliced into half-moons
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.
While the pasta is working, using a food processor, finely chop the cheese, parsley, mint, jalapeños, garlic, pistachios, lime zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. With the machine on, stream in about 5 tablespoons EVOO to form a pesto.
In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the butter and heat until foaming. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Add the pesto and reserved starchy cooking water to the pasta and toss, 1-2 minutes. Stir in half of the zucchini. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and top with the remaining zucchini.