Culture Street

I know people enjoy making pasta-like ribbons out of vegetables, then sauce them like pasta and proclaim it to be just as good. But not me, pasta just ain’t pasta without pasta. However, matching
the noodle quantity with an equal amount of zucchini ‘tagliatelle’ does work for me. In fact, it works beautifully. You still get all the pasta pleasure, but there are plenty of vegetables as well. Iserved
this to my young daughters and they loved it. And they hate zucchini! They do love pesto, and perhaps that little bit of zucchini camouflage helped too.

Serves 6

Ingredients
500 g dried tagliatelle
500 g zucchini, sliced into 3-mm-thick ribbons using a mandoline, then cut into strips similar to the pasta
2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
100 ml cream
4 zucchini flowers, stamens removed and
flowers roughly torn (optional)
1 handful of basil leaves, torn
1 handful of toasted hazelnuts, roughly crushed

Basil–hazelnut pesto
200 g (2 bunches) basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of flat-leaf parsley leaves,
roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
80 g lightly toasted hazelnuts, chopped
220 ml extra-virgin olive oil
150 g grana padano, finely grated
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Method
For the pesto, blitz the herbs and garlic in a food processor or blender. Add the hazelnuts and process while adding the oil until you have a fairly smooth paste. Add the grana padano and blitz until just combined. Season with salt and pepper and set aside (you won’t need all the pesto for this, so just store the remainder in a small jar with a layer of oil on top to stop it oxidising).

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, adding the zucchini ribbons for the last 30 seconds of cooking. When the pasta is almost ready, add the oil, three-quarters of the pesto
and the cream to a large frying pan over medium heat and just warm through. Drain the pasta and zucchini and add to the pan, tossing through to evenly coat. Portion the pasta into bowls and top with the zucchini flowers (if using), basil and hazelnuts and serve.

salads-vegetables-cover-imageRecipes extracted from Salads & Vegetables by Karen Martini. Available now, Plum, RRP $39.99. You can buy the book here.

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