Charred zucchini, risoni and herb salad with parmesan and pea dressing

Charred zucchini pasta salad.
Charred zucchini pasta salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dietary
Vegetarian

The charred gnarly bits are what make this pasta salad sing. Don't be afraid to get (a lot of) colour on your zucchinis, it contrasts delightfully with the light and bright pea and parmesan dressing. You could also try this with Israeli cous cous, which would work just as well as the short pasta.

Ingredients

1½ cups risoni pasta

2 tbsp olive oil

4 zucchini (about 650g), trimmed, cut in half lengthways

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

juice of ½ lemon

¼ cup basil leaves, coarsely torn

¼ cup firmly packed flat-leaf parsley, chopped

¼ cup firmly packed mint leaves, chopped

¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Parmesan and pea dressing

150g frozen peas, defrosted under hot water

50g parmesan, chopped

125g yoghurt

½ cup tightly packed basil leaves

½ cup tightly packed mint leaves

Method

1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the risoni and cook according to packet instructions. Strain, then stir through one tablespoon of the olive oil to prevent the pasta grains from sticking. Allow to cool completely before adding to a large bowl.

2. Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender and blitz to a pesto-like consistency. Season and set aside.

3. Place a large frypan over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and when hot, add the zucchini halves and garlic. Cook, shaking the pan often, and turning until cooked through and nicely charred – you want to see some dark colour on them. Squeeze over the lemon juice and cook for another 30-45 seconds.

4. Remove from the heat and cut each zucchini half into largeish bite-sized pieces. Add to the bowl of risoni along with the herbs and toasted hazelnuts. Spoon over some of the dressing. Toss gently and add more dressing if required – you don't want to drown the salad in dressing, just enough to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

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