Thursday, June 28, 2012

fennel frond pistachio pesto pasta with zucchini

I've been on a crazy fennel kick ever since I returned from my Italy girl's trip a few weeks ago. Have I mentioned I went to Italy? ;)  We found fennel quite popular there, as it continually popped up in our salads, fresh, and on our appetizer plates, grilled.

Consequently, fennel has been showing up in various ways in my kitchen at home now too.  I've been using the fronds for garnish, and mixed in herbed salads, but wanted to have a way to use up a bunch at once.  Fennel Frond Pistachio Pesto.  Voila!  The pesto is really nice with julienned zucchini tossed in pasta.  And for those not eating pasta, it would be darn good on just the julienned zucchini.  Fresh, green and good!

Into the food processor with fennel frond, flatleaf parsley, garlic, pistachios, lemon zest and juice, olive oil and parmesan -- whirl it up, and put it in a jar.

Place some of the pesto in a bowl, add warm pasta and the julienned zucchini and toss to coat. Use a tablespoon or so of the starchy cooking water as you toss.

fennel frond pistachio pesto pasta with zucchini
for the pesto
1 1/2 cups fennel frond
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 cup pistachios
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

for the pasta
pasta of your choice, cooked al dente
1-2 zucchini (depending on how much pasta you make), julienned
fennel frond pistachio pesto

Add fennel, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and zest, pistachios, a few grinds of pepper, and big pinch of salt to food processor and pulse.  Gradually add in the olive oil with the machine running.  Add in the parmesan.  Taste and add additional salt/pepper if needed.  Pour your pesto into a jar.

Toss warm pasta cooked al dente with some of the pesto, then add in fresh julienned zucchini.  Add more pesto to taste, as well as a bit of the starchy pasta water until it comes together perfectly.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan and freshly cracked pepper to serve.

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