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When all else fails, blend: Pasta with Asparagus Pesto

Ingredients

Asparagus and Spinach Pesto

  • 1 bunch asparagus spears (about 1 lb), trimmed and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for tossing with pasta
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 small spring onions, white and light green parts finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 box of angel hair pasta, cooked to al dente (we use whole grain)

Directions

Asparagus and Spinach Pesto


 

Boil salted water in a large, shallow pan and add asparagus, cooking for only 2-3 minutes, until asparagus are bright green and just barely tender. Reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water, then drain the asparagus and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. When asparagus is cooled, slice off the tips and set aside.

Shove the remaining asparagus into a blender with the cloves of garlic, the 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, and the baby spinach. Add in the 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water and blend.

Through the hole in the top, slowly pour in the olive oil and stop the blender occasionally to redistribute the mixture. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. After a few minutes, the sauce will be blended fine and full of amazing flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, toss the pesto with cooked pasta, pine nuts, cheese, lemon juice and additional olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with reserved asparagus tips and chopped green onions.