Summer Suppers: Courgette and pea pasta with vegan basil and parsley pesto

Courgette and pea pasta with vegan basil and parsley pesto

Inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's Fried courgette pasta in Plenty, this is a super easy dish to put together before the sun goes down, and of course, if you make enough it just gets better for lunch the next day.

Because the sauce here is a vegan pesto, the pasta is best if it's light and not shaped to absorb much sauce - the main thing is that you use plenty of the best olive oil you can get your hands on, as that's what will bring out the flavour in the courgettes and peas.

Yields four portions, i.e. dinner for two and lunch for two.

400g pasta
1 courgette, chopped into 5mm width slices on the side
1 onion, chopped and diced
Two good handfuls of peas
1 handful of basil 
1/2 handful of parsley
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat a frying pan with a little oil and start to fry the courgette pieces. It's vital you don't over-crowd the pan as they will go soggy and steam each other instead of crisp up. So take your time and do in three or four batches. Leave to drain away any excess oil in a colander over a plate.

Now you're only a few minutes away from serving, so put the kettle on to boil and pour into a saucepan with the pasta to start cooking, adding salt if you want.

Without washing the frying pan, add the onions and allow to go slightly translucent, then add the peas. They'll take on the oil and juices from the onion and taste even better.

If you have a herb chopper knife, chop the basil and parsley as small as it will go, and mix with around three or four tablespoons of olive oil, and plenty of salt and pepper. If you have a hand blender you could also use this to chop the herbs, or just use the sharpest knife you have to really chop it all up tiny. You've now got your vegan pesto.

Drain the pasta and allow to cool in the pan for a few seconds. In this time you can transfer the onions, peas and courgettes into a big serving dish. Pour in the pasta and the pesto to the mix, and then give everything a good stir. Add a little extra olive oil or pepper to taste, and you're good to go.