If you are up to your ears this summer in zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and shelling peas, not only am I really happy for you, but I've got the perfect summer pasta dish for you too. Seamlessly and simply integrate your summer produce loot into a delicious and crowd pleasing dish that is loaded to the brim with veggies.
Pesto is the perfect vehicle to squeeze in some extra greenage into your diet. Think beyond basil and use spinach, kale, broccoli or, in this case, arugula, and add nutritional millage in any way that you can. Pesto is one of the staples that I make in the summer and always have a jar on standby in the freezer - at the ready for a simple summer supper. The vegetables in this dish are adaptable and, if you want to be completely pasta-free, opt to make your zucchini in noodle form.
arugula pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and summer peas
For the Pesto
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin oil
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
For the Tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon za'atar
- Pinch of salt
For the Pasta
- 1/2 cup peas, blanched if using shelling peas, defrosted if frozen
- 1 large zucchini, cut into 1- inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups of your favorite shell or bow-tie shaped whole-grain or gluten-free pasta, cooked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a parchment paper-lined sheet tray, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, za'atar, and a pinch of salt. Roast until the tomatoes are shriveled and slightly charred, but still sweet and juicy - about an hour. Stir halfway through cooking.
- While the tomatoes cook, make the pesto. In a food processor, combine the arugula, basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, Pecorino Romano (if using), and salt. Pulse a few times. With the motor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil and continue pulsing until very smooth. Add additional olive oil, if needed.
- To cook the zucchini, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes, zucchini, pinch of salt, and cook until seared on both sides, about 5 minutes.
- To assemble, place 2 tablespoons of pesto into a large bowl, add the peas and zucchini, and toss to coat. Next, add the cooked pasta, 3 tablespoons more pesto, and mix well to combine. Top with tomatoes and fold together gently. Finish with additional cheese, if you wish.
- Pasta can be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature.