I love this recipe because it will sit really well, so you can make it ahead. You can also double the pesto recipe and freeze the extra for easy meal prep. Or, if you want to freeze the extra pesto in an ice cube tray, you can pop in a couple of cubes into any sauce you’re making to add some bright flavor. This is a great canvas recipe that’s delicious as-is and easy to make your own!
Technique tip: Make sure not to over-blend your pesto to keep that bright, green color.
Swap option: You can swap traditional pasta for alternatives (chickpea pasta, brown rice pasta); you can swap the almonds with any nut or even omit nuts all together in case of a nut allergy; if you’re not interested in the zucchini, you can add whatever veggies excite you (roasted or fresh — you can play around!).
For the pasta:
Toss together the zucchini, oil, lemon zest and juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Let sit for at least 25 minutes to marinate and soften while you make the pesto and cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
For the pesto:
Combine the oil, almonds, garlic and salt in a blender. Puree until well-combined and creamy. In 3 additions, add the basil leaves, blending just until pureed (do not over-blend, or the basil will lose its fresh green color). Add the cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times just to combine (the pesto can be made ahead; it will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month).
To cook and assemble:
Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain the pasta and transfer it to the bowl with the zucchini.
Add the red pepper flakes, pesto, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a scant 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Toss to combine. Add more pasta water to thin sauce, if necessary.
Divide the pasta among four bowls, top with the basil, cheese and chopped almonds, and serve immediately.
Excerpted from ANTONI: LET’S DO DINNER © 2021 by Antoni Porowski with Mindy Fox. Photography © 2021 by Paul Brissman. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
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