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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Fresh and Zesty: Spaghetti with Lemony Courgette Pesto

Welcome to my kitchen, where I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting pasta recipes. Today, I'm thrilled to share a delightful twist on a classic dish: Spaghetti with Courgette Pesto. This recipe combines the vibrant flavours of courgettes, pine nuts, basil, pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano, and lemon to create a mouthwatering pesto sauce that will leave your taste buds begging for more. Let's dive in!

The Perfect Blend of Flavours

The star ingredient of this recipe is the courgette, also known as zucchini. Its mild and slightly sweet flavour pairs beautifully with the earthy notes of pine nuts and the aromatic basil. I've also added a hint of lemon zest and juice to brighten up the dish, providing a refreshing and zesty kick. The combination of pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses adds a rich and savoury element that perfectly balances the overall flavour profile.

Creating the Pesto

To start, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente. While that is happening, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until golden brown, being careful not to burn them. Next, sauté the courgettes until tender and lightly golden. These simple steps help to enhance the flavours and textures of the ingredients.

Once cooked, it's time to blend everything together. In a food processor or blender, combine the cooked courgettes (setting some aside for topping the pasta), toasted pine nuts, basil leaves, grated pecorino, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and blend it all together while gradually pouring in olive oil until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. The olive oil not only aids in achieving the desired texture but also imparts a luscious mouthfeel to the pesto.

Bringing It All Together

Now comes the exciting part—tossing the cooked spaghetti with the courgette pesto. Make sure the pasta is well coated in the flavoursome sauce, adding a splash of pasta cooking water if needed to loosen the consistency. The starch in the pasta water helps the sauce cling to the noodles, creating a harmonious marriage of flavours.

To serve, sprinkle some grated pecorino cheese over the pasta, drizzle a little olive oil for a glossy finish, and garnish with the remaining courgette slices you had previously set aside. The aroma alone will make your taste buds tingle with anticipation.

And now, the detailed recipe and step-by-step:


  • 200 grams spaghetti

  • 2 small courgettes (zucchini), sliced

  • 50 grams pine nuts

  • 30 grams fresh basil leaves

  • 30 grams grated pecorino cheese

  • 30 grams grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions until al dente.

  2. Meanwhile, in a dry pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Make sure to keep an eye on them, as they can burn quickly. Once toasted, remove from the pan and set aside.

  3. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped courgettes and cook until they soften and develop a light golden colour, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow them to cool slightly.

  4. In a food processor or blender, combine the cooked courgettes (setting some aside for topping the pasta with), toasted pine nuts, basil leaves, grated pecorino cheese, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Blend the ingredients together while gradually adding olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. You can adjust the amount of olive oil to achieve the desired thickness.

  6. Taste the pesto and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If you prefer a more citrusy flavour, you can add more lemon juice.

  7. In a large bowl, toss the cooked spaghetti with the courgette pesto until well coated. If needed, add a splash of pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce.

  8. Serve the spaghetti with an extra sprinkle of grated pecorino cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with a few fresh basil leaves for added freshness.

Enjoy your delicious Spaghetti with Courgette Pesto!

Spaghetti with Courgette Pesto is a fantastic recipe that showcases the versatility and freshness of courgettes. The combination of the nutty pine nuts, fragrant basil, tangy lemon, and the richness of pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses creates a symphony of flavours that will make your palate sing. Whether you're a pasta enthusiast or simply looking to try something new, this dish is sure to impress your family and friends. Give it a go and experience the joy of a perfect pasta creation!

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