Mixed Herb and Lemon Pesto with Zucchini and Pasta
A 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.