Where does the inspiration for a meal come from for you?
Every morning, I open the fridge door to jars full of jams, chutneys and pickles. They sit proudly amongst a bowl full of figs that were picked only days earlier from the fruit laden tree a couple of doors down. A carton of eggs laid by local chooks, homemade almond milk, a variety of nuts and a drawer full of the finest, nutrient dense vegetables that grow just down the road at Transition Farm - crisp lettuce heads, vibrant orange capsicums, bunches of long tropea onions and robust shiny green zucchinis. All just waiting to be turned into delicious meals.
With our own veggie garden exploding with greenery, and carrots that were in need of thinning out, my mind started to piece together the culinary puzzle. Carrot top and silverbeet pesto. Zucchini ribbons and slender strands of spaghetti. A scattering of crushed toasted almonds and a generous grating of parmesan.... Using simple ingredients, a sprinkle of creativity and a handful of inspiration along with a mind that never stops dreaming about food, a simple meal was created.
This what I love, this is what makes me happy.
Green Spaghetti with carrot top and silverbeet pesto.
250g spaghetti a large zucchini
a good handful of carrot tops, washed well and chopped a big bunch of silverbeet or cavalo nero or kale, leaves stripped and chopped
a large handful of basil, chopped 60g parmesan, plus extra for serving, grated zest of 1 lemon and its juice
3/4 cup of a mixture of almonds and walnuts, toasted in a dry frypan, roughly chopped light olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Make long ribbons with the zucchini using a spraliser, if you don't have one, try using a peeler to peel off long slender strands.
Meanwhile, using a food processor or a mortar and a pestle, blitz together all of the pesto ingredients. I like to add the carrot tops first, give this a blitz and then do the same with the silverbeet leaves, you may need to do this in batches. add in the basil, parmesan, lemon zest and juice and 1/2 cup of nuts, blitz all of this until finely chopped. Add enough oil to make a smooth paste and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente, reserve a little of the cooking water, and then drain the pasta. Pop the pasta back into the pot along with the zucchini ribbons. Stir through the pesto (the amount you use depends on how much you want to use, I had a small jar that I could fill with what was leftover when I added it to mine) Loosen it all with the reserved cooking water until it looks silky.
Serve with extra grated parmesan and sprinkle over the reserved nuts along with a few basil leaves if you have some leftover.