Pasta with Zucchini Sauce and Watercress Pesto

  • Yield 10 servings

Green-on-Green! If you are unable to locate watercress, arugula makes an excellent peppery substitute for the garnishing pesto.

Pasta with Zucchini Sauce and Watercress Pesto
Teresa Blackburn


Watercress Pesto:
1 bundle fresh watercress
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
Sauce and Pasta:
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
10 cups sliced zucchini (about 5 pounds)
1 cup chopped garlic scapes (1 bundle)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 pound tagliardi pasta (or pasta of choice)
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese


  1. To prepare the pesto, place all ingredients into a food processor fitted with the swivel blade and pulse until watercress is finely ground. The infused olive oil will be bright green. Keeps for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
  2. To prepare sauce, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add zucchini, garlic and salt. Stir, coating the vegetables well. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Zucchini will collapse and release its liquid, becoming “soupy.” Add water and wine, and continue cooking uncovered for another 7 minutes. Remove from heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender. Taste for salt.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions. (Tagliardi, thin egg pasta squares, require 4 minutes cooking time.) Drain and return to pot.
  4. Spoon warm sauce over pasta, and fold throughout—gently coating the pasta. Dot with watercress pesto oil. Dust with cheese, parmesan or pecorino.



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