Cilantro-Pepita Pesto with Squash Ribbons and Fettuccine
Super flavorful cilantro-pepita pesto tossed with fettuccine and julienned summer squash makes a light and simple meal. You could skip the pasta altogether for a even lighter, gluten-free meal, but I liked the pasta-squash combination best.
⅓ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup packed cilantro (mostly leaves, about 2 bunches’ worth)
2 teaspoons seeded and roughly chopped jalapeño
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pasta and squash ribbons
8 ounces (½ pound) whole grain fettuccine or linguine
2 small zucchini
1 yellow squash
Lightly toast the pepitas in a small pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Transfer the pepitas to a bowl to cool a bit.
Remove any discolored skin from the squash with a paring knife. Use a julienne peeler (or regular peeler) to slice the squash lengthwise, one side at a time (stop once you get to the seeded part, then turn the squash to work on the next side).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook fettuccine until al dente, according to the package’s instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice, salt and cooled pepitas. While running the food processor, drizzle in the olive oil. Stop processing once the pesto is well blended.
Toss the cooked pasta and ribboned squash with the pesto and serve.
If you don’t have a julienne peeler, you can use a regular vegetable peeler to make squash ribbons as directed below, or slice the squash into super thin rounds with a sharp knife (in which case, you might prefer rotini or penne pasta instead of fettuccine/linguine).
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a few days. Expect the squash to lose a little moisture, but the leftovers will still be very good. Serve chilled, or at room temperature, or gently reheated… it’s good any way.