Pasta al pesto: lemons from Procida {vegan}

Marta's Plants - Pasta al pesto: lemons from Procida {vegan}

(cliccate qui per la versione italiana)

Happy Monday peeps! Today I give you a recipe that is as unusual as it is simple and delicious. A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Procida, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a very tiny (4 sq km / 2.5 sq mi) volcanic island off the coast of Naples in Italy. I try to go there a few times a year because 1) it’s gorgeous, and most importantly 2) I have been working on an ongoing documentary photo project on its teenagers since 2015. I consider it my 2nd home now. It has welcomed me in ways I would have never imagined.

Procida is home to many culinary traditions, mostly connected to fresh fish (obviously!). And what better flavor to complement that of fish? Local lemons! One of the simplest and most famous recipes involving Procida lemons is lemon salad. Weird?! Why, yes.

Procida lemons have quite a unique peculiarity: their pith is thick, spongy and sweet. So, contrary to regular lemons, you can – should! – eat it (in fact, many people even call it “pane” or “bread” and eat it as is or with a tiny sprinkle of sugar!).

I’m not sharing the salad recipe because it’s not super photogenic, but, instead, I’ve made a delicious and quick pesto with these lemons that were gifted to me by a dear friend who picked them off her trees!

p.s. you do NOT need to have this particular variety, you can use ANY lemon!!

another p.s.: here’s another interesting pasta al pesto (flower pesto!) recipe for you from last year!

 Marta's Plants - Pasta al pesto: lemons from Procida {vegan} Pasta al pesto di limoni di Procida

by Marta Giaccone

serves 3
prep time: 10 min, cook time: 10 min, total: 20 min


250 gr pasta
juice of 1 lemon from Procida or other variety
lemon zest, to taste
½ garlic clove
35 gr pine nuts
4 tbsp evoo
salt + pepper
fresh basil

Marta's Plants - Pasta al pesto: lemons from Procida {vegan} Pasta al pesto di limoni di Procida


  1. Add water and a pinch of coarse salt to a big pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Dry toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium-low heat for just a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove once they start to brown.
  3. If you’re using Procida lemons or any lemons with a thick and sweet pith, you can just remove the outer skin with a sharp knife and chop up the pulp inside (no need to remove the pith). Also chop up an inch of the skin. Otherwise grate the zest and squeeze out the juice.
  4. Add all juice and a little bit of zest to a blender together with ½ garlic clove, evoo, salt, pepper, a few leaves of basil and most of the pine nuts. Blend into a creamy consistency, taste and adjust.
  5. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to packaging instructions.
  6. When it’s cooked, reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Then drain, put back into the pot, add most of the pesto and thin out with a little bit of liquid if necessary.
  7. Serve, sprinkle some more lemon zest, pine nuts, chopped fresh basil, the remaining pesto and some freshly-cracked black pepper.

Marta's Plants - Pasta al pesto: lemons from Procida {vegan} Pasta al pesto di limoni di Procida

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