In a blender, pulse together the nuts, Parmesan, and garlic until mostly broken down. Add the basil (I recommend blanching it first to preserve its color, but this is completely optional), lemon juice, and salt.
While the blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Taste for salt, lemon juice, and garlic.
Cook the pasta until al dente in well-salted water. Reserve at least ½ cup of the cooked pasta water.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the sliced zucchini, Italian seasoning, chickpeas, and salt.
Cook zucchini for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Stir as needed.
Combine 6 ounces of pesto with 3-4 tablespoons of pasta water to thin it into a pourable sauce.
Toss the pesto sauce with the cooked pasta, zucchini, and chickpeas. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and Parmesan to taste. Serve hot or cold.
Dairy-free option: This recipe can easily be made dairy-free by using a wedge of vegan Parmesan in place of regular Parmesan.
Leftovers: Leftovers are best within 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated in a closed container. The pesto will maintain its bright green color if blanched, but if not the leftover pesto pasta will be duller in color.
Blanching basil: I like to blanch basil for pesto to preserve its green color. To do this, simply add basil to boiling water for up to 10 seconds then quickly transfer it to a bowl with ice-cold water.