Monday, October 31, 2016

Deconstructed Pesto Pasta Primavera

Want pesto, but not all the oil? Chop and add all of the traditional pesto ingredients plus just enough oil to flavor. Pro tip: the addition of parsley helps to keep this “pesto” green. It’s not essential, but your pesto will turn brown shortly after preparing if you leave the parsley out.

3/4 pound rotini pasta, any type
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for topping (if desired)
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, cut into strips similar in size to the pasta (¼” x  ¼” x 1”)
1 head of broccoli, cut stalk portion in strips (¼” x  ¼” x 1”) and head portion into 1” florets
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2/3 cup finely chopped basil (do NOT pack when measuring)
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley (do NOT pack when measuring), optional
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ pound cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup toasted pine nuts, optional

  1. Boil pasta in salted water according to package instructions until al dente. If using gluten-free or high protein pastas, rinse pasta at the end of cooking.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and stir; add squash and broccoli before garlic browns and still well. Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked but broccoli is still slightly crisp.
  3. Add pasta and crushed red pepper flakes to the vegetables and reheat pasta. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan if the pasta is sticking. Add basil, parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Portion into bowls and top with tomatoes and pine nuts. If desired, drizzle with a bit more olive oil. 

Makes 4 large servings

Substitutions: You can substitute chopped walnuts for pine nuts. You can also substitute other vegetables—like colored bell peppers, carrots, asparagus, and cauliflower—for the vegetables used in this recipe.

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