Mixed Herb and Lemon Pesto with Zucchini and Pasta
A magnificent medley of zucchini, fresh herbs, nuts, cheese and lemon juice with zest are what makes this pasta dish irresistible! Top with zucchini flowers for a stunning presentation.
- 1 pound specialty short-cut pasta, such as trofie or gnocchetti di Sardi or egg tagliatelle
- About 1/2 cup tarragon leaves
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- A generous handful of fresh mint leaves
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or pasted
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts (a small handful), lightly toasted
- 3 tablespoons pistachio nuts (a small handful), lightly toasted
- 1 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional)
- A handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
- 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds small zucchini or seeded zucchini, thinly sliced
- 12 zucchini flowers (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add salt and drop the pasta. Cook to al dente. Reserve 3/4 cup of the starchy cooking liquid just before draining.
While the pasta cooks, place the tarragon, basil and mint in a food processor. Add the lemon zest and juice, garlic, nuts, fennel pollen (about one third palmful), salt, pepper, cheese and about 1/4 cup EVOO. Pulse into a paste and transfer to a serving bowl.
Place the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook until light golden in color, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the pesto sauce.
Add the starchy cooking water to bowl along with pasta and zucchini flowers, if using. Toss to coat the pasta and combine the sauce.
This is one of many “Yum-o!” recipes – it’s good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael’s nonprofit organization, go to www.yum-o.org.