Oh, summer.

meatball pesto veggie pasta 3

Somehow I always forget just how many zucchini you give us every year. And how the tomato plants are so weighed down with fruit that the vines just lay on the ground, giving into the weight of the ridiculously huge German Pinks.

walnut pesto

And summer definitely means basil. That’s one thing I wish I could grow well. Anyone have trouble getting basil to grow? Ours always turns out thin and sad looking, more like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree,  so I just buy mine from the farmer’s market when I need it.

But zucchini and tomatoes? We are set. As long as we have this yard or a garden somewhere else, I will never buy zucchini or tomatoes ever again. We’ve got more than enough.

zucchini and tomato

When Barilla contacted me to see if I’d like to try Barilla Plus, it was a no brainer. I already use their whole wheat/whole grain pastas for most dishes, and I was excited to try the Plus pasta. Their pasta has flaxseed, legumes and spelt along with the normal flour, and it’s just as good as their regular (non-whole wheat) pasta.  

Since we’re in the height of our tomato and zucchini season, I wanted to make a summer-filled dish to try the pasta. Zucchini, tomatoes, and pesto are always a good idea, especially for a quick weeknight meal.

I’d love to make my own pasta all the time, but I know it just won’t happen. I love using whole wheat pastas the best, but this Barilla Plus was really good, especially coated in a summery pesto, sauteed veggies, and meatballs.

meatball pesto veggie pasta 2

I mean…is pesto ever a bad idea? I don’t think so.

meatball pesto veggie pasta 1

Farfalle with Meatballs, Walnut Pesto, and Summer Vegetables

Makes: 4 – 6 servings


  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 12 oz. farfalle or other short pasta
  • 1 batch walnut pesto (recipe below)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the egg until the yolk is totally broken down.
  2. Stir the cornmeal, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, and pepper in with the egg.
  3. Add the ground beef to the egg and cornmeal mixture and gently mix them together until the cornmeal mixture is evenly distributed in the beef.
  4. Roll the ground beef into 1-inch rounds and place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the beef is cooked through.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a palmful of salt and the farfalle pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes until tender. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, place a skillet over medium heat. Halve and slice the zucchini into thin pieces and cook, in batches, in the skillet. Let the zucchini slices brown a bit on both sides before removing to a large bowl.
  7. After the zucchini is cooked, add your chopped tomatoes to the skillet and let them cook for 3-4 minutes in the pan. Pour the tomatoes over the zucchini in the bowl.
  8. When the meatballs are cooked, add them to the bowl with the zucchini and tomatoes and toss together.
  9. Toss 2-3 spoonfuls of the walnut pesto (recipe below) in with the meatball and veggie mixture and with the hot pasta. Serve together.

Basil Walnut Pesto

Makes: about 1/2 cup


  • 4-5 cups fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil


  1. Add the basil, garlic, walnuts, and salt to the bowl of a food processor or blender.
  2. Pulse until the basil and walnuts are finely chopped.
  3. Let the machine run and pour in the olive oil until you get the texture you want.
  4. Keep leftover pesto in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays for later.

Want to try Barilla Plus?

I’ve got one gift package from Barilla to giveaway that comes with 2 boxes of their pasta to try plus a $25 gift card to get ingredients and make up a new pasta dish for yourself!

To Enter: Leave a comment telling me your favorite summer pasta mix-in. Fresh tomatoes? Chopped basil? Something fun and different like fresh corn or eggplant? Spill it!

For extra entries:

Share your favorite pasta recipe on Facebook – leave the link or the actual recipe, and leave comment here letting me know you did.

Follow @Barilla on Twitter and let me know you did.

Follow @branappetit on Twitter and let me know you did

Good Luck! Contest only open to US residents. Also, Barilla sent me the pasta to try and a gift card to get ingredients to make my dish – all opinions, like always, are my own.


  1. I love pasta with chopped tomatoes and diced cucumbers!

  2. I love adding shredded zucchini to pasta in the summer!

  3. I love adding fresh grilled tomatos.

  4. i loveeee loveee loveee roasted eggplant in mine!! hope i win!

  5. is there anything better than cheese?

  6. I love to add fresh tomatoes and grilled eggplant to my pasta dishes.

  7. I follow barilla on twitter

  8. I also follow you on twitter!

  9. I love mixing in bell peppers and zucchini!

  10. Ah, these look awesome! Pasta and meatballs is such a classic but I love the spin with the pesto.

  11. I love pesto in the summer. No two ways about it.

    I love the meatballs in this dish! So creative!

    ps Prune the top of your basil to make it bushier ;)

  12. and now I follow Barilla on twitter!

  13. I love adding spinach and mushrooms to my pasta.

  14. I love blending some avocado into a thick creamy sauce!

  15. I love mixing tomatoes and fresh basil with grilled shrimp, for a light pasta dish in the summer.

  16. I follow barilla on twitter.

  17. I already follow you on twitter!

  18. Sauteed eggplant and tomatoes are great additions to pasta!

  19. Ooh my favorite summer pasta mix-in is totally heirloom tomatoes. Sauteed just a tiny bit with some garlic, so yummy. :)

  20. And I follow Barilla on Twitter, too.

  21. I love adding fresh tomatoes.

  22. I follow Barilla on Twitter–mami2jcn

  23. Always cheese. Corn and eggplant are good too!

  24. I love adding feta! tangy goodness.

  25. Oh man. Pesto and tomatoes! UGH. with ANY pasta. As long as it’s in my mouth.

  26. I love to add fresh cherry tomatoes

  27. My fave is definitely fresh herbs–usually basil, but I’m also loving rosemary! Our basil is always out of control but I don’t know the secret–I think we just get lucky :)

  28. i love adding sundried tomatoes!

  29. One of my favorite things is to make a light pasta primavera just sautéed summer squash, zucchini, sugar snap peas & mushrooms with fresh herbs & grated Parmesan on top.

  30. I follow you on twitter

  31. I follow @Barilla

  32. I’m a big fan of just about any vegetable in my pasta! Lately it’s asparagus and edamame!

  33. I just left you my favorite pasta dish on Facebook!

  34. Pesto is definitely never a bad idea! I love this simple pasta idea. :)

  35. And I already follow you in Twitter!

  36. Kalamata Olives! I love olives! :) yum yum :)

  37. Fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden!

  38. I shared one of my favorite pasta recipes on your FB – Pasta Puttanesca!

  39. I like to add fresh spinach and a dash of creme fraiche to my pasta dishes in the summer!

  40. I’m following Barilla on Twitter!

  41. And I’m following you on Twitter too :)

  42. i like it simple. olive oil and parmesan.

  43. I love tomato sauce & broccoli! :)

  44. I follow @BarillaUS on Twitter. (@calidreamin87)

  45. assorted fresh summer veggies – tomatoes, zukes, yellow squash, green beans, whatever is currently fresh – all sauteed together combined w/ the pasta and topped w/ some parm. yummy.

  46. Broccoli, cherry tomatoes, peppers, artichoke hearts and some Italian Dressing. With this type of pasta salad, you can add anything and everything!

  47. I started following you on Twitter. Twitter name is rizzogurl.

  48. I started following Barilla on twitter. My user name is rizzogurl

  49. My store sells baby mozzarella balls – so good with pasta! Hope you are having a great weekend Brandi! :D

  50. I love simple marinara with a sprinkle of parm. Yum!

  51. I actually love to make a cold pasta salad with chicken, grapes, and mandarin oranges!

  52. I Follow @Barilla on Twitter

  53. I Follow @branappetit on Twitter

  54. we like to make grilled veggies and I always make extra so that I can add them to pasta for a dinner the next night. thanks

  55. I follow Barilla on twitter (at)carolwegs
    carolwegs at gmail dot com

  56. I follow you on twitter (at)carolwegs. thanks
    carolwegs at gmail dot com

  57. a basil-avocado pesto with either fresh or slighly roasted tomatoes!! (maybe the slow-roasted plum variety after I try a batch)

  58. artichoke hearts :)
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  59. cheese for me thanks

  60. My favorite mix in is fresh basil!

  61. I follow Barilla on Twitter

  62. I loved adding julienned zucchini “noodles” to my pastas!

  63. Followed @Barilla on Twitter!

  64. Followed @branappetit on Twitter!

  65. I love making cold hostile pasta salads with edamame, bell peppers and purple onions with lemon and olive oil dressing!! It’s the perfect summer pasta salad!

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