OK, I know it’s the first day of fall, and I feel very un-seasonally appropriate to post a zucchini recipe, but this little green machine is still quite abundant here in Belgium, so please bear with me. 🙂 On the off chance that you, also, have the last few late summer zucchinis still ripening on your counter, here is a stellar way to transfer them to your dinner table, adapted from the lovely blog Running to the Kitchen.
The concept here is very simple. Everything good about pesto, with way more nutritional punch. We found the taste essentially indistinguishable from “regular” basil pesto, but there is a ton of zucchini and spinach packed into every bite, so you can basically feel like a superhero as your child devours it and asks for more. Henry is still soundly rejecting most green vegetables served in their unadulterated form, but happily scarfs them down when integrated into a main dish like this. At 16 months, I can live with that!
From here on out, I’m all about embracing fall in the kitchen.. this weekend I plan to experiment with mini apple bundt cakes, homemade graham crackers, and a new comfort food supper. But if you need dinner inspiration right now, go forth and make this and feel great about using the last gasp of summer produce in a delicious way.
Zucchini Basil Pesto
2 medium-sized zucchini
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. roasted pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 cup fresh basil leaves
generous handful baby spinach
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. dried pasta*
In a food processor fitted with the shredding disc, grate the zucchini. Scoop zucchini out of the bowl and transfer directly into a clean kitchen towel. Using your hands, squeeze as much excess water from the zucchini as you can, then return it to the bowl of the food processor.
Add the garlic, pine nuts, grated parmesan, basil, spinach, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Process until smooth.
With the food processor running, add the olive oil slowly through the feed tube until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over cooked pasta with additional parmesan and basil for garnish, as desired.
*Note: This makes a lot of pesto; I suggest cooking about 8 oz. of pasta to serve with as much pesto as you like, and saving the rest of the pesto for another use. It would make a terrific appetizer spread, mix-in for other Italian-style sauces or meals, etc. Pesto will keep well in the fridge for at least a week if stored in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil spread over the top.
Source: Adapted from Running to the Kitchen