If you omit the Parmesan you will need additional salt. You can also use Chilgoza, the Indian equivalent of pine nuts for the pesto.

Ingredients for 4

450-500 grams pasta such as elbow macaroni, Farfalle, Fusilli or Gemelli

1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds lightly toasted

1.5 cups tightly packed of arugula or rocket leaves washed, large stalks removed and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 carrot about 4-5 inches long scraped, cleaned and diced finely

1 unpeeled zucchini washed and diced finely

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste


Set a stock pot of water to boil on high heat. Stir in a pinch of salt and cover.

Heat olive oil on a medium flame in a non-stick pan and saute carrots about 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini and saute until tender but not mushy. Add chilli flakes and saute 30 seconds.

When water is boiling add pasta and cook until al dente or to your taste. In india, I cook the pasta about 2 minutes less than the time provided on the packaging. In our heat and humidity I find the pasta continues to soften even after its drained.

Drain pasta and reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the pasta water. Use the rest for a soup or dal.

One the pasta is drained toss with half the sauteed carrots and zucchini.

Puree the chopped rocket or arugula leaves in a food processor with garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and butter to form a coarse paste. If you are vegan omit the Parmesan.

Taste for salt.

Toss pasta in the spinach pesto. Season with black pepper, garnish with more parmesan and remaining sauteed zucchini and carrots.