My friend Liz sent me a link to Mark Bittman’s recipe for asparagus pesto a couple of weeks ago and raved about how good it was. Needless to say, I have been dying to try it. I stopped by Whole Foods today and was happy to see asparagus from nearby New Jersey on display, so I decided to make it for tonight’s dinner. The pesto did not disappoint! I didn’t have pine nuts, so I substituted walnuts instead, and I also used Romano cheese instead of Parmesan. I rarely make asparagus because Johnny only eats the tips, but there’s no waste in this recipe: the asparagus is ground up in the food processor so you use the whole stalk. This pesto was simple to make and it’s light enough for summertime fare. We had it with DeLallo’s whole wheat shells and also fettuccine (I had a little of each that I wanted to use up so I made two kinds of pasta). The recipe yielded enough for leftovers, so I think I will use the remaining pesto as a pizza topping tomorrow night. Thanks for sharing Liz!
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments
1 clove garlic, or more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil, or more as desired
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and let the asparagus cool slightly.
2. Transfer the asparagus to a food processor and add the garlic, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons of the oil, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and gradually add the remaining oil and a bit more of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste, pulse one last time, and serve over pasta, fish or chicken (or cover and refrigerate for up to a day).
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (about 1 1/2 cups).