Having originated in Genoa, Italy around the 16th century, Pesto comes from the Genoese word Pestâ, meaning to pound or crush. The name refers to the traditional blend by mortar and pestle of crushed garlic, basil, coarse salt, European pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and olive oil. Commonly accompanying pasta, it can also be found in springtime versions of Genoese minestrone. Tradition noted, we’ve made a few adaptations. Pasta has been replaced by low-carb zucchini noodles, European pine nuts by antioxidant-rich, locally-sourced walnuts, and we added a zing of lemon zest for a little flair. I love this dish in the late summer/early autumn when zucchini, basil and tomatoes are in abundance.
Please note, you will need a spiralizer and food processor for this recipe.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Toss tomatoes in 1 tablespoon olive oil and arrange on prepared baking sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes, until tomatoes are soft, blistered and beginning to burst.
In the meantime, trim the ends of zucchini.
Using a spiralizer, process zucchini, yielding 8 cups.
Rest spiralized zucchini on a clean towel to absorb moisture.
Using a processor, combine basil, walnuts, ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, 6 tablespoons olive oil, garlic and lemon zest, until thick and creamy.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Saute spiralized zucchini for 2 minutes, until heated through and al dente. *
Toss with prepared pesto, topping with roasted tomatoes and remaining Parmigiano Reggiano.
*Over-cooked zucchini will be watery and limp.