Pesto Veggie Pasta Fresh and Satisfying Recipe

Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

For the Pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Pasta

  • 1 pound pasta (rotini, penne, fusilli, or your favorite shape)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Make the Pesto

  • In a food processor, combine basil, walnuts (or pine nuts), Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until finely chopped.
  • While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until a smooth, creamy consistency is achieved.
  • Taste for seasoning; adjust salt, pepper, or add extra Parmesan if desired.

2. Cook the Pasta

  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.

3. Prepare the Vegetables

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add cherry tomatoes and cook for an additional minute or two.

4. Assemble the Dish

  • Add the cooked and drained pasta to the skillet with the vegetables.
  • Pour in the prepared pesto and toss well to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Serve

  • Divide the pasta among bowls.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a few basil leaves, if desired.

Tips

Make pesto ahead: You can make the pesto in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week, making this a quick weeknight meal option.

Vary your veggies: Use whatever vegetables you have on hand: bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach – the possibilities are endless!

Add protein: Top with grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas for an extra protein boost.

Gluten-free option: Use your favorite gluten-free pasta.

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