Most of the food that I make for dinner falls in the category of Mediterranean. Greg and I fell in love with the food that we ate while in Italy a couple of years ago and decided to try to bring it home with us. When I found out I had gallstones from my pregnancy (owwie!!!) it was even more of a push for us to embrace low-fat and good-fat food that we just happened to love and crave on the daily. I am no nutritionist and we definitely don’t follow the Mediterranean diet of diet infamy but what modifications we made definitely helped me to not be in pain for the 9 months that I waited to have surgery. We don’t use butter in anything other than baked goods and we don’t eat much beef or pork. We stick with chicken, fish, pasta dishes, good cheese and lots of veggies. One of the things I have loved learning to make and perfect has been homemade pesto. At first it seemed a little bit tedious but now, I can whip it up in no time and it is the perfect no cook sauce for pizza, pasta, or bruschetta. This pasta dish was the result of a few trial and errors and I think I have it down to just how we like it. The pesto is finally the right proportion to noodles and the zucchini and tomatoes really make a meal out of it. Here you have it and hope you love it!
Pesto Pasta with Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes
- For The Pesto
- ¼ cup extra -virgin olive oil
- 2 heaping tbs walnut pieces, toasted
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup basil leaves, tightly packed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Black pepper
- ½ cup FINELY grated Parmesan cheese
- For the Pasta
- ¾ lb linguini
- 2 zucchini, chunked
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs garlic powder
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Make the Pesto
- Toast the walnuts by placing them on a pan and in the oven at 350° for 8-10 minutes, tossing in the pan halfway through. The walnuts will appear a few shades darker and will smell amazing.
- Place the toasted walnuts in a food processor with the olive oil and garlic. Process until smooth. Add the basil, salt and pepper and process until smooth, once again.
- Pour into a small bowl and add the grated Parmesan, folding them together.
- Set aside.
- Make the Pasta and veggies
- Cook ¾ of a box of linguini according to the package directions and drain.
- Chop up the zucchini into chunks. I usually slice each one in half lengthwise and then again, creating 8 long pieces and then chunk. Don’t cut them too thin because you want them to retain some bite.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
- Place the olive oil into a large pan and heat over medium high heat.
- Add the zucchini as well as the garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the zucchini until tender but still crunchy in the middle
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes for the last 30 seconds. You don’t want to over cook them and end up with them mushy and the skins falling off.
- Place your pasta into a large pasta bowl and fold the pesto out on top of the pasta.
- Using tongs, coat the pasta in the pesto. This takes a little work because the pesto is not exactly runny, but it will cover the pasta after some tossing. If you make sure the pasta is hot when you are tossing, it helps and you can also add a little splash of olive oil to loosen up the pesto.
- Once the pasta is coated, add the roasted veggies and gently toss.
- Enjoy! Preferably with some very yummy bread!
I hope you enjoy this pasta as much as my family does and that when you eat it you can envision yourself sitting in Piazza Navona, enjoying music, wine and great company! MEB