Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Grilled Corn and Zucchini
Fusilli pasta tossed with pistachio pesto, grilled zucchini and corn, salty pecorino cheese shavings, torn basil leaves, and a touch of fresh lemon zest and juice. This vibrant vegetable-filled summer pasta recipe can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, and is bound to become a new family favorite.
5ounces aged pecorino cheese thinly shaved with a Y peeler, plus more for serving
Prepare Grilled Corn and Zucchini:
Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Set them cut-side up on a half sheet pan and sprinkle with salt. Allow the zucchini to sweat for 10 minutes. Blot the zucchini with a clean kitchen linen to remove any beaded moisture. Set the shucked corn cobs on the same sheet pan.
Drizzle the vegetables with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle the corn cobs lightly with salt. Preheat an outdoor gas grill to medium-high heat. Grill the zucchini for roughly 1 minute per side, or until charred on all sides. Grill the corn cobs, rotating them often, until evenly charred on all sides. Set the vegetables on a wire rack, set over the sheet pan, until cool enough to handle.
Lay the grilled corn cobs flat on a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice off the kernels, rotating the cob as needed. Cut the zucchini cross-wise into ½-inch wide pieces. Set aside for later or, if prepping ahead, transfer to seperate containers and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
Prepare Pistachio Pesto:
While you prepare the pesto, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
In a large food processor, fitted with a blade attachment, pulse the shelled pistachios until coarsely chopped. Set aside roughly half of the chopped pistachios in a small bowl for tossing with the cooked pasta later, leaving the remaining pistachios in the food processor bowl.
Add the garlic cloves and pulse repeatedly until evenly minced. Add roughly 5 ounces of basil leaves (reserve about 1 ounce for tossing with the cooked pasta), kosher salt, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Pulse, pouring the olive oil into the feeding tube, until the pesto comes together and is mostly smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice if needed. Season to taste, adding more salt if needed. Set aside.
Prepare Pasta and Assemble:
Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving about 1 cup (240 mL) of the starchy cooking water.
Transfer the pesto (and a small splash of starchy cooking water) into the empty, still warm pasta pot. Add the drained, cooked pasta to the pot. Toss, adding another splash of cooking water if needed, until the pasta is generously coated in the pesto.
Add the grilled corn kernels and zucchini, reserved pistachios, lemon zest, and reserved basil leaves (torn or roughly chopped) to the pot. Toss gently to combine. Add the pecorino cheese shavings, tossing just once or twice, until distributed. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or additional freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with additional shaved pecorino cheese, for topping, if desired. Leftover pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.