Courgette & basil pasta with pesto crumbs

Courgette & basil pasta with pesto crumbs

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(13 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 6
Serve this summery pasta bake with roasted vine tomatoes and a rocket salad

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal760
  • fat44g
  • saturates24g
  • carbs77g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre5g
  • protein18g
  • salt0.35g
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  • 500g pack penne
  • 5 courgettes, grated



    The courgette is a variety of cucurtbit, which means it's from the same family as cucumber,…

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 500g pot crème fraîche
  • 25g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • small bunch basil, reserve a few leaves for garnishing



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

  • 85g chunk ciabatta
  • handful toasted pine nuts, plus a few extra for sprinkling


  1. Slightly undercook the pasta, then drain, reserving a ladleful of cooking water. Rinse the pasta with cold water to cool. Drain again, toss in a little oil to stop it sticking together and set aside while you get the rest of the bake ready.

  2. Fry the courgettes in oil for about 10 mins to drive off most of the liquid; they should reduce down a lot. Add the garlic and onion to the pan, cook for 2 mins more, then season really well and add to the pasta. Stir in most of the crème fraîche and half the Parmesan with seasoning, then tip into an ovenproof dish. Dollop the rest of the crème fraîche over the top.

  3. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Whizz nearly all of the basil, remaining cheese, bread and pine nuts together to make pesto crumbs, then scatter all over the top. Finish with a few more pine nuts. Bake for 20 mins until the topping is crisp and bubbling at the edges. Serve with a few more basil leaves scattered over.

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Comments (11)

jpjerry's picture

My partner is a vegetarian I eat meat he does not. Can not understand someone calling this a side since it has no meat. If more people occasionally, had this for a main they would weight less. Meat has enough sides have dishes like this as your main it is superb

nikkibrooks's picture

Good way of using up courgettes, loved the crumb topping, i halved the amount of creme fraiche which worked really well for us.

frances46's picture

Pretty good but I agree with it maybe being a bit bland, so i added some pesto in with the pasta. The crumble bit had the most flavour so i'd put some more of it on next time. I would make this again though.

gurneyd's picture

Wasn't particularly wowed by this recipe. Had this as a main for a vegetarian and sides for the meat eaters, but it just lacked flavour. I also reserved the ladle of water and wasn't too sure what to do with it, but I got the recipe from a copy of an old magazine I had so hadn't seen the reviews. So if I were to cook it again then I would want to make some additions to it like a previous reviewer had commented.

destinystar123's picture

Quite enjoyed this, nice flavours, easy to make

mimi204's picture

I made this recipe to use up some homemade pesto and added lemon zest and juice, chilli and basil to the mixture. I also used fromage frais instead of the creme friache to keep the fat content down. My OH enjoyed this more than I did. I'm glad i added the extra flavours as I think it would have been too bland otherwise. I think it's missing a salty and/or sweet contrast.

joankilleen's picture

This was quite nice especially the crumb topping. But we had it as a main and I felt it still needs a little something. Next time I might add some bacon or another vegetable. But a nice way to use courgettes when they are plentiful.

zogmeister75's picture

this was absolutely lovely despite looking a bit simple to me. I think the ladle of reserved water is supposed to be used with the creme fraiche to moisten the pasta mix a bit before you add the topping which dries things out somewhat. Im not sure why this is just not achieved by cooking the courgettes less as they carry a lot of water.
Once you have the pasta creme fraiche etc in the bowl together just see if you think it looks a bit too gloopy....and add some extra moisture if required. Remember the slightly under done pasta will soak up water too but its a fine balance.
I added spinach into this pasta mix while it was still warm (it wilted while stirred in) and used shop bought breadcrumbs which worked really well.

lizzafezza's picture

A good way to use up a glut of courgettes from the garden. Tasty.

clarel's picture

This was really tasty and simple to make and was a great accompaniment to the herb and lemon pork chops alongside it in the magazine.

Yes the ladleful of cooking water is a complete mystery!!

sugar1's picture

This was very tasty: a great way to use up courgettes but not sure what I was supposed to do with the ladleful of cooking water I carefully reserved.

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