Zucchini, currants & pesto

zucchini pestoThis is a fabulous sauce to serve with pasta.  The minted pesto goes beautifully with the zucchini and sweetness of the currants just tops it all off.  The kids have loved this one.

Season:  Summer/Autumn

Type:  Big Dishes

Difficulty:  Easy

Serves:  8 at home or 30 tastes in the classroom

Fresh from the garden:  zucchinis, mint, parsley, basil, garlic

Recipe source: Majura Kitchen Garden


  • non-slip mat & chopping board
  • metric measuring cups
  • scales
  • 1 large knife
  • mortar and pestle
  • mandolin
  • grater
  • large bowl
  • spatula
  • tongs

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • sea salt
  • 120 g sunflower seeds (or pinenuts)
  • 120 g parmesan
  • 75 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small zucchini
  • ⅓ cup currants
What to do

  • Set out your equipment and ingredients.

Make the pesto:

  • Weigh the parmesan and grate it.

Process the sunflower seeds

  • Weigh the sunflower seeds.
  • Take 2 tablespoons of the seeds (or nuts) and put the small frying pan and dry-fry over a medium heat until golden.  Set aside to use as garnish.
  • Put the remaining seeds in the mortar and grind the seeds.

Process the herbs & garlic

  • Gently pull the herb leaves from their stems.  Rinse the leaves and dry by rolling in a tea towel.  Place the leaves in mortar and the stems in the red compost bucket.
  • Peel the papery skin off the garlic and put in the mortar.
  • Pound the herbs, seeds and garlic until you have a rough paste.
  • Slowly add the oil.  You should have a paste that is the same consistency as mayonnaise.
  • Use a spatula to scoop the pesto out of the mortar and into a small bowl.  Stir in half the parmesan.

Julienne the zucchini

  • Use the mandolin to cut the zucchini into long, thin strips.  Take extreme care with the mandolin, it is extremely sharp.  Only use it with Lou.

Assemble the pasta and sauce

  • Add the julienned zucchini to the pasta while it is cooking just before you are ready to drain it (the zucchini cooks quickly and you don’t want it soggy).
  • Reserve some of the pasta cooking water to thin the pesto sauce if necessary – it makes the pesto nice and creamy.
  • Put the drained pasta and zucchini into a large bowl.
  • Use a spatula to scoop the pesto out of the mortar and add to the bowl, adding some the reserved cooking water if necessary.  Toss well and use tongs to divide between the serving bowls.
  • Scatter the remaining parmesan, currants and reserved sunflowers seeds (or pinenuts) over the top and serve.

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