Three vegetable penne with tarragon-basil pesto

  • 450g penne rigate (with lines) pasta
  • Salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 225g asparagus, trimmed of tough ends
  • 1 small courgette
  • 115g haricots verts (thin French beans) trimmed of stem ends
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 45g basil, 20 leaves
  • Handful flat-leaf parsley
  • 15g tarragon leaves from 10 to 12 stems
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 40g grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more to pass at table
  • 80ml extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
1) Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Salt the water and add pasta to cook to al dente or, with a bite to it. Cut asparagus spears into 5cm pieces on an angle. Cut courgette into matchstick shapes. Cut haricots verts or French beans into 5cm pieces on an angle. Add vegetables to pasta after penne has been cooking about 5 minutes. Cook veggies and pasta together 2 minutes.

2) While pasta cooks, toast pine nuts in a small pan until golden, then cool. Place nuts, basil, tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, cheese and a little salt and pepper in a food processor. Turn the processor on and stream in the extra-virgin olive oil until thick sauce forms.

3) Scrape pesto into large, shallow serving dish. Add a ladle of hot, starchy pasta water to the pesto. Drain penne and veggies and add immediately to pesto. Toss to coat pasta and vegetables evenly. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with extra grated cheese to pass at table.

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