We were late this time around and still managed to pick up some gorgeous produce! We grabbed two large zucchini from Bill’s Produce and a bunch of basil from Tomten Farm. We are getting to that part of the summer where I get a little panicky and start grabbing all the basil I can find. Pesto is a must to take me into fall/winter!
Being gluten-free I am always looking for new ways to enjoy traditional pasta dishes sans wheat, so I thought I would make ‘spaghetti’ from the zucchini and top it with the pesto that was soon to be. I added roasted chicken and sauteed mushrooms (have you checked out the great selection of mushrooms from HasShrooms this year?!) to round it out and enjoyed every last bite.
Zucchini Pasta with Basil Sunflower Pesto
1 large bunch basil
4 ounces Parmesan or hard, salty cheese
handful of raw sunflower seeds
1-2 raw garlic cloves
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 large zucchini
1/2 pint sliced mushrooms
1/2 roast chicken, skin and bones removed, diced
Begin by making the pesto. Pop the basil, cheese, garlic, seeds and salt & pepper in a food processor and pulse a few times until chunky. With the processor on low, stream in olive oil until it is the consistency you like. For this I made it a little thinner to help coat the zucchini. Pesto making is really just about the technique, play with the ingredients until you find what you like and how you like them together. Set aside 2 tbsps of pesto and store the rest in an airtight container to preserve that bright green color.
Next, take out the box grater and run the zucchini down lengthwise to make long, noodle-like pieces. I used the peel and all but stopped once I got to the center since the moisture and texture got to be too much for the grater. I ended up with about 3-4 cups of shredded zucchini from the 2 I had. In a sauté pan, warm a tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter, add mushrooms and cook until browned on the edges. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the zucchini to the same pan and toss to warm through. Add the pesto, mushrooms and diced chicken and toss until thoroughly coated and warmed. Serve hot and with a few long shaves of Parmesan right on top!