Serves 4-6, depending on how the pesto is served
The end of October signals the shift from summer to fall, from zucchini to acorn squash, from strawberries to pomegranates, from fragile basil to sturdy rosemary. As cooks who thrive off of seasonal ingredients, this time of year becomes a study in bounty, when we can walk into gardens and see the last of the summer squash, peppers, and tomatoes breathing their final exhale as pumpkins begin to ripen and apples loaded with flesh fall to the ground.
With this recipe, basil leaves toughened by summer heat and the gaining chill of October mornings are harvested and processed with roasted pistachio, lemon zest, crushed garlic, and gently roasted zucchini.
1¼ cup zucchini, small diced and roasted
1¼ cup roasted pistachios, finely chopped
2 cups basil leaves, thinly sliced
¼ lemon zest, about 3 lemons
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
A squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash and dice the zucchini, toss it in a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch each of salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
3. Roast the zucchini for about 12-15 minutes or until it’s just done (it should still be firm).
4. While the zucchini is roasting, prep the other ingredients.
5. Wash and zest the lemons. Chop the lemon zest.
6. Peel and crush the garlic cloves.
7. Place the pistachios in a food processor and process them until they are finely chopped (not too roughly chopped and not paste-like, but so small bits of the nuts are still visible). Put the chopped pistachios in a stainless steal bowl.
8. Take the zucchini out of the oven to cool.
9. Wash and dry the basil leaves, and put them in the food processor with the olive oil. Process the basil until smooth.
10. Once the zucchini is cooled, place all of the ingredients into the bowl (lemon zest, crushed garlic, pistachios, pureed basil, zucchini, salt). Let the ingredients mingle for about 30 minutes before serving.
11. Right before serving the pesto, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into the mixture, stir it well, and check for proper seasoning (you may need to add a little more salt).