About a week ago, JJ told me I needed to make some pesto because my basil pot is growing out of control. I then flipped through my newest Cooking Light issue, and found this recipe for Penne with Zucchini Pistou. I also had a fridge full of zucchini as they were dirt cheap at the Farmer's Market last weekend. Again, another reason I love cooking magazines - they are seasonal and feature recipes that showcase the season's best produce.
This dish is very simple, few ingredients, and quick to make. I served JJ's with chicken sausage, and mine with Italian Herb tofu for a complete meal. I subbed in shells because I think they're best at trapping pesto sauce, but you can use any short cut of pasta.
Penne with Zucchini Pistou
slightly adapted from Cooking Light July 2010
4 tsp. EVOO, divided
1 lb. small zucchini, sliced
2 c. packed basil leaves
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. whole wheat pasta
2 tbsp. half and half
Crushed red pepper flakes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt and drop in pasta, cook to al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 c. of the cooking liquid.
Drain and place back in pot.
Heat 1 tsp. EVOO over medium heat, add zucchini and onions, sauté for 5 minutes, until tender and slightly golden.
Add basil, garlic, pine nuts, half of the Parmesan cheese and 3 tsp. EVOO to a food processor, run until smooth, adding pasta water to thin if necessary.
Add zucchini, onions, cream and pesto to pasta pot, toss to distribute pesto.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Plate and serve with extra Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes.