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Fusilli with Asparagus, Zucchini and Basil-Mint Pesto
© John Kernick

Fusilli with Asparagus, Zucchini and Basil-Mint Pesto


On Halloween, David Burtka punches up the green color of this pasta by boiling white fusilli in water laced with green food coloring before tossing it with vegetables and a basil-mint pesto. This simplified version calls for spinach fusilli.


  1. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  2. 4 cups packed basil leaves
  3. 1 cup mint leaves
  4. 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  5. 1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  7. Kosher salt
  8. Freshly ground black pepper
  9. 1 pound spinach fusilli
  10. 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  11. 3/4 pound small zucchini, cut into 1-by- 1/2-inch matchsticks
  12. 5 ounces baby spinach
  1. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, basil, mint and garlic and pulse until finely chopped. With the machine on, add 1 cup of the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse to incorporate. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the fusilli until al dente. Drain the pasta and wipe out the pot.
  3. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil to the pot and heat until shimmering. Add the asparagus and zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until crisp-tender and browned in spots, 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook just until wilted, 3 minutes. Add the pasta and pesto and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away, passing additional grated cheese on the side.
Make Ahead
The pesto can be covered with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface and refrigerated overnight.