Penne with Zucchini, Walnuts and Pesto

by Jennifer

This pasta recipe comes from the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook;  the pesto comes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.  The pesto freezes well;  I will make it every time I have enough basil in my deck pots, or there’s a bunch from our CSA, then freeze it for pasta or pizza later.  On the side I served some local, ripe tomatoes tossed with a dressing of 1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar, 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, salt and black pepper (whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl, then add the tomatoes and toss to coat).  Serves 4.

  • 14.5 oz – 1 lb penne, whole wheat preferred
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 2” long thick matchsticks
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe pesto (see below)
  • 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions;  reserve 1/2 cup cooking water before draining.

Meanwhile, heat 1 TBS olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook zucchini until tender and turning golden, about 8 – 10 minutes.  Season zucchini with salt and pepper.

Toss drained penne with pesto, cooking water, zucchini and walnuts, and serve with freshly grated cheese on top.

Pesto – adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

  • 1 – 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 TBS pine nuts
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a food processor, finely chop the garlic and pine nuts with the salt.

Add the basil and pulse until finely chopped.

While the processor is running, pour in the oil, stopping to scrape down the sides.

Add the cheese and process just until combined.

Makes about 1 cup.  Freezes well.

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