So, in an effort to be better and find more time I've been trying even more than usual to work on dinner while she naps. And thank goodness does she nap right now. And this recipe is the perfect naptime recipe. You blend the pesto and cut the zucchini into strands and stick it all in the fridge. Before dinner you boil a pot of water, drain and toss it all together. And its awesome. We had ours with Panko Crusted Chicken (of course) and it was so easy and Lilly stood on her chair to help.
The pesto is mostly parsley with just a bit of basil mixed in, so its got a really fresh, bright flavor that screams summer both in color and in taste. The zucchini, while not necessary for flavor, is a great way to add some extra veggie nutrition (especially for kiddos) because it just disappears into the dish. I used my zesting tool to cut it into long, thin strands but you could also use a mandoline or just cut it into long, thin matchsticks with a knife.
Lilly has been on a bit of a "no green, no veggies" kick lately, but she loved this. The recipe that provided inspiration was from this month's Bon Appetit, so I'd showed her a picture of the dish beforehand to explain what a pesto was. That got her excited and she gobbled it right up. Happily ate leftovers for lunch today, too. A lunch we ate together, without any distractions.
Spaghetti with Herb Pesto
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 cups loosely packed parsley leaves
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
3/4 cup fresh chives
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 large or two small zucchini
1 lb. spaghetti
Juice from half a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine almonds, parsley, basil, chives, garlic and olive oil in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the container as needed.
- Set pesto aside or, if using later, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the pesto and place in refrigerator (can be stored for up to 5 days).
- Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove and discard seeds. Use a zesting tool or mandoline (or a knife) to cut the zucchini into long, thin strands. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
- Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water before draining the pasta.
- To serve, combine the pasta, pesto and zucchini strands in pot, adding reserved cooking water by 1/4 cupfuls until the mixture reaches a saucy consistency. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.