Pesto is my favorite thing in the entire world. I can eat varying iterations depending on the season and I do. In fall, I make kale pesto; in winter, I love beet-green pesto; and during spring it’s all about asparagus pesto. It may seem a bit strange to pulse up a beautiful vegetable like asparagus and coat it with pasta but I promise you it’s delicious. I like to include a bit of spinach to balance out the asparagus—it adds a nice freshness to it. In this pesto, you’ll see many of the usual suspects: Parmesan, olive oil, garlic and salt and lemon. For this recipe in particular, I favor pistachios (green on green!) but feel free to swap it in with pine nuts or almonds.
Of course you could add chicken or steak to this but it definitely doesn’t need it.
There’s no denying it, summer is running towards us, we can’t stop it. This recipe is evidence that I’m not ready for sweltering temperatures, BBQs and watermelon quite yet. So, I’m gonna sit here and make a few more things with my favorite spring ingredients one last time.
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces, plus a few more pieces for garnish
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/3 finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 20 pistachios
- Juice from 1/4 lemon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the pasta in the water and cook until al dente, per the package’s instructions, about 9 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of pasta water (this measurement can be eyeballed) and transfer the pasta back to the pot.
- Meanwhile (you can do this step and step #1 simultaneously), bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Drop the asparagus in the water and cook for 5 minutes, until bright green. Add the spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Drain them both and transfer to a blender, along with olive oil, garlic clove and pistachios. Pulse until smooth, about 1 minute, scrapping down the sides as needed. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add a few pinches of salt. Pulse once more and give it a taste test. Adjust the salt according to your liking.
- Pour the pesto into the pot with the pasta and toss until thoroughly coated, adding a splash or two of pasta water as needed. Divide between bowls and top with a few spears of asparagus as garnish.
This recipe was originally posted on PBS Food.