A couple of things before you get started. This recipe is perfect for leftover or rotisserie chicken from your local store, or add in some grilled shrimp for a well-rounded meal. For the pesto, there’s always the traditional basil + pine nuts combo, but we encourage playing with your food. Try walnuts and parsley or macadamia nuts and mint! We also love doubling the pesto recipe and freezing the extra in zip lock bags to use later.
The pesto works perfectly in the Pipe Rigate, where it can hide in all the shells’ nooks and crannies.
Whole Wheat Pipe Rigate with Pesto and Spring Vegetables
Serves about 4.
For the pesto:
- 1 large bunch basil (or a combination of basil and flat-leaf parsley)
- 4 large peeled garlic cloves
- ½ cup Parmesan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more may be needed
- 1/2 lemon
For the pasta:
- 1 box Community Grains Identity Preserved Pipe Rigate
- 3 small-medium zucchini, halved and chopped into ¼ inch half moons
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives, halved (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start off by bringing a large stock pot of well-salted water to boil.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Pick the basil (or parsley) leaves from the stems and place them in a blender or food processor. Add the garlic cloves, Parmesan, salt, ¼ cup of olive oil and pine nuts in with the basil. Put the lid on tight and pulse to combine. Carefully drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil in while the blender is still on. Turn off the blender and squeeze the lemon juice into the pesto (careful not to let the seeds fall in). The pesto should be thick, but not chunky. If it’s too thick turn the blender back on and add a bit more olive oil until it thins out. Taste the pesto for salt, acid, and texture. Set aside.
- Cook your Pipe Rigate 7-8 minutes or until al dente. Before you drain your pasta reserve 1 c of the pasta water. When your pasta is done drain and set aside.
- Place a large sauté pan on the stove on medium-high heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and place the zucchini in the hot pan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and give the pan a shake. Sauté the zucchini for 3-5 minutes or until some of the zucchini start to color. Turn off the sauté pan. We will be using this pan to combine the rest of the ingredients into our finished dish.
- Turn the same sauté pan to low and add the cooked pasta and pesto to the zucchini, along with 2-3 tablespoon of the reserved pasta water. Stir the ingredients together while the dish heats up. Taste for salt and pepper and you are done! Be careful not to “cook” the pesto. You should only heat the pesto and rest of ingredients for 2-3 minutes.
- Enjoy your quick and delicious mid-week meal of homemade pesto and Pipe!