1mediumcourgette (240g)cut in half lengthways then sliced
Extra Italian cheese, grated, for servingoptional
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 356F. I use a fan assisted electric oven, please adjust the temperature to your own oven.
Bring a large saucepan of water with a pinch of salt to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente.
While the pasta is cooking make the spinach pesto. Add the spinach, Italian hard cheese, basil, garlic and pine nuts to a food processor. Blitz until the mix is quite stiff then slowly pour in the oil while the blade is still going. Keep mixing until everything is combined. Now add the lemon juice, salt and pepper.Set aside until the pasta is ready.
Drain the pasta reserving a cup of the cooking water. Tip the pasta into a large casserole dish. Add the water to the pesto, stir until the water is incorporated.
Add the pesto to the pasta along with the courgette and sun-dried tomatoes, mix well.Top with the grated mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Or until the cheese is golden and the courgette is cooked.
Serve immediately with more grated Italian hard cheese and freshly cracked black pepper if you like.
Calories are approximate
I used rigatoni pasta, but any similar pasta like penne or fusilli will do just fine.
If you are not vegetarian you can use parmesan cheese instead of vegetarian hard Italian cheese.
The fresh pesto with the spinach really makes this pesto pasta bake, however, if you are really stuck on time then you can easily make this with a good store-bought vegetarian pesto.
To make this vegan please see the post.
I do not recommend freezing this dish.
If you want to make this gluten-free just sub the pasta for your favourite gluten-free pasta.