November 16th, 2017
My favourite pasta recipe.
I love pasta. I don’t think that will come as a shock to anyone.
For a very long time, my go-to pasta dish used to be penne with tomato passata and shallots, but in the past year, a new recipe has taken that spot: orecchiette with zucchini and pesto.
This combination is perfection, so allow me to show you how I prepare it.
First of all, you are going to need a good pesto. Regular pesto is not okay for me, as unfortunately it’s not vegetarian, but you do find some great alternatives in the market for vegan pestos. One in particular is extremely tasty, but comes in the smallest jar and the price tag is quite high.
Because I have been eating this dish so frequently, it seemed convenient to make my own pesto from scratch: I have a basil plant in the kitchen, and you really don’t need many other ingredients (olive oil, pine nuts, salt and garlic — note: sometimes, if I feel fancy, I may mix in some other nuts as well and make it a bit crunchier, but this time I’ve kept it simple).
A month or so ago I bought a Nutribullet, which is an incredibly convenient blender. I’ve been using it a lot ever since, so I definitely recommend it!
I take one of the cups, and fill it with a bit of all the ingredients: depending on how creamy or crunchy you want the pesto sauce to be, you can work out your measurements. You can totally have fun with this, and make your own version.
The key step here is to simply mix and blend everything together.
I would suggest to start with less ingredients and keep adding as you go, so you get the preferred consistency.
Then pour your pesto into a jar, and use it throughout the week.
For this particular dish, the pasta that I find works best is this one up here.
While I wait for the water to boil, I chop up a zucchini.
I first cook it on its own, with just a bit of salt, pepper and oil; when they are almost done, I pour in the pesto so they get covered and the pesto itself gets warm.
To serve, I just sprinkle some pine nuts and extra black pepper.
I tend to like simple flavours, so for some it may be too bland, but if that’s the case, what I do for Felix, for example, is that I mix into the pesto some spicy sauce. Again, it’s really up to you to play around with the flavour.
I’ve came across this type of recipe on a restaurant here in Brighton called ‘Ask Italian’; they used to offer a pretty similar dish but unfortunately they removed it from the menu a few months ago. That broke my heart, but at least it pushed me to make it for myself!
Let me know if you try it out, and I hope you will like it.