Hidden veg pesto pasta

Hidden veg pesto pasta

Taste of Australia
10 mins
Cooking time
15 mins
Stuart Scott

Paola Cocchis and Luisa Lacota, the ‘Italian mammas’, started the school canteen at the Sophia Mundi Steiner School in Melbourne to provide fresh healthy organic meals for all the children in the school community. They shared this recipe with me. The vegetables make a pesto-like sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
salt, to taste
500g green vegetables
400g spelt or kamut pasta
2 bunches basil, washed and dried
1 garlic clove
50g freshly grated grana padano, plus extra shaved to serve
60ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the greens and boil until soft, about 2–3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Throw your pasta into the pan and cook as per the instructions on the packet.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, pick the basil leaves off the stems and place in a food processor along with the garlic, cheese and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Process the ingredients and slowly add the remaining oil until you have a smooth, thick paste. You may need to scrape down the side and process a little longer as the occasional leaf may climb the side of the bowl. Once you have a nice smooth consistency, remove the pesto from the bowl leaving behind about 125 g in the food processor. Add the greens to the food processor, salt to taste, add the lemon juice then process again.
  3. Strain your pasta, reserving 125 ml of the pasta water. Toss the pasta through the sauce, moisten with pasta water, if desired, and serve immediately with the extra cheese.


  • For the adults only try a viognier, which has a natural affinity with vegetables

Lyndey’s note

  • Grana Padano is a northern Italian hard cheese, which is subtler, less nutty and cheaper than Parmigiano Reggiano. You can substitute any parmesan. The extra pesto (without the zucchini) can be frozen in ice cube trays or small containers.
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