What to do with basil leaves? Well, I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes to my mind is “MAKE PESTO!”.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo. The traditional way of making pesto involves grounding it in a mortar and pestle. However, the lazier and faster way to make large quantities of pesto is to opt for a food processor. The beauty of pesto is that it can be made according to your taste. There are also many variations of pesto but for purposes of simplicity, I have stuck with the basics.
I can’t remember where I first came across the concept of zucchini noodles – could be from Pinterest. Nonetheless, these noodles are deceptively easy to make. Just need a julienne and a large zucchini. To add more texture, I decided to mix the zucchini noodles together with some wholewheat spaghetti before tossing it all over with the freshly made pesto and garnishing it with blistered tomatoes straight from the broiler.
Pesto (makes 1 cup):
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
Zucchini Noodles with Wholewheat Spaghetti and Blistered Tomatoes (serves 4-5)
- 8 ounce wholewheat spaghetti
- 1 large zucchini
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
1) Make Pesto. Blend all ingredients together and adjust according to own liking. (NB: Best to leave motor on whilst pouring olive oil in). Set aside.
2) Boil pot of hot water with salt and cook pasta al dente according to package instructions. Drain and cool in colander. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
2) Preheat broiler in oven to 220 degrees celsius. Layer tomatoes on roasting tray, spray with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and broil for ~15 minutes until blistered.
3) Make zucchini noodles with julienne.
4) Heat a pan on low heat, add 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil and cook zucchini noodles for 1-2 minutes until softened.
5) Using the same pan, stir in the zucchini noodles and pasta and pour in the freshly made pesto. Stir until well combined. Top it off by garnishing with the blistered tomatoes fresh from the oven.