This has to be one of my all time favorite pasta dishes. I found this one about a year ago from Rachael Ray and I fell in love with it!! I bought her book called "Express Lane Meals" and there are a lot of great recipes in that book! That's where I found this recipe. This one is pretty easy to make and it can be made with Gluten Free pasta. For a boost of protein, you can also add chicken to this dish. I typically add rotisserie chicken to mine. This one pairs nicely with a salad and garlic bread (for those of you who eat wheat).
The pesto sauce you make with this recipe is really great - one of the better recipes I have had. Fresh tarragon is the key to this recipe, so make sure it's fresh! I make a lot of meals for get together events, when people get sick, and when I do catering. I always include this dish and it's the most popular, so definitely worth repeating!
- 1 lb of penne rigate (ridged) pasta (or whatever Gluten Free Pasta you choose)
- ½ lb of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
- 1 small zucchini
- ¼ lb thin green beans or regular green beans (stem ends trimmed)
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves
- ½ cup fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from 10-12 stems
- A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Course Black Pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package. Cut the asparagus spears on an angle into 2-inch pieces. Cut the zucchini into matchsticks. Cut the green beans on an angle into 2-inch pieces. Add the vegetables to the pot with the pasta after the pasta has been cooking for about 5 minutes. Boil the veggies and pasta together for 2 minutes. Do NOT overcook your veggies!
While the pasta is working, toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet until golden, then cool. Place the nuts, basil, tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, ½ cup cheese, and a little salt and pepper in a food processor. Turn the processor on and stream in the olive oil until a thick sauce forms.
Scrape the pesto into a large, shallow serving dish. Add a ladle of hot, starchy pasta water to the pesto. Drain the pasta and veggies and immediately add them to the pesto. Toss to coat the pasta and vegetables evenly. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra graded cheese.
- Recipe source: inspired by Rachael Ray