Tomato Zucchini Penne with Pesto

Sugar enhances and balances the strong flavours of basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese, and reduces the acidity of the tomatoes in this delicious pesto sauce. Makes 6 servings.


2 cups (500 mL) whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup (250 mL) fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup (50 mL) ricotta cheese
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 tbsp (15 mL) water
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, quartered


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to the package directions until "al dente" (tender but firm). Drain well; transfer to larger serving dish.

In a food processor or blender, combine basil, oil, garlic, and sugar. Blend in Parmesan and ricotta. Set aside. Place zucchini in large casserole dish with 1 tbsp of water and microwave for 3 minutes on high, drain. Add zucchini, pesto and salt to pasta, toss well.

Garnish with cherry tomatoes.