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Playing Mixed Herb and Lemon Pesto with Zucchini and Pasta


  • 1 pound specialty short-cut pasta, such as trofie or gnocchetti di Sardi or egg tagliatelle
  • Salt
  • About 1/2 cup tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • A generous handful mint leaves
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated or pasted
  • A small handful of pine nuts, 3 tablespoons, lightly toasted
  • A small handful of pistachio nuts, 3 tablespoons, lightly toasted
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen, 1/3 palmful, optional
  • Pepper
  • A handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds small zucchini or seeded zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 12 zucchini flowers, optional


Serves: 4 to 6


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 tarragon, basil and mint in a food processor. Add the lemon zest and juice, garlic, nuts, fennel, salt, pepper, cheese and about 1/4 cup EVOO. Pulse into a paste and transfer to a serving bowl.

Place remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 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 starchy cooking water to bowl along with pasta and zucchini flowers, if using. Toss to coat pasta and combine the sauce.