asparagus pesto recipe from Gourmet. It was an interesting spin on a traditional pesto, with a subtle and unique flavor. I adapted the recipe slightly, cutting the quantities in half, since I was cooking for two. However, I did not halve the asparagus; instead, I started with a full pound of asparagus, from which I removed the woody ends, leaving me with closer to 3/4 of a pound. I also reserved the asparagus tips to add to the pasta at the end, for a little more of a veggie-feeling to the dish (it could have used even more veggies added to the sauce).
As per the suggestion of a commenter on epicurious.com I added a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice and just a little zest to brighten the pesto's flavor. You'll also want to season this with lots of fresh pepper and salt to taste. While you may be tempted to add more garlic, don't. Asparagus is so much more subtle than the strong herbs with which you'd traditionally make a pesto that 1 to 1 1/2 cloves will be plenty to give you a good garlic-y flavor.
Pasta with Asparagus Pesto
Adapted from Gourmet
1/2 pound pasta
1 pound asparagus
1/8 cup pine nuts lightly toasted
1 1/2 medium garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/3 cup)
Salt and pepper
Scant zested lemon peel
Squeeze lemon juice
1. In a 6- to 7-quart kettle bring about 5 quarts salted water to a boil for pasta.
2. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Trim woody ends from asparagus. Cut asparagus stalks crosswise into 2-inch pieces, reserving tips. In a steamer set over boiling water steam stalks, covered, 5 minutes. Immediately transfer asparagus to ice water to stop cooking. Drain asparagus well in a colander and pat dry. Repeat with reserved asparagus tips and steam, until just tender, about 1 minute.
3. In a food processor pulse pine nuts and garlic with salt until finely chopped. Add asparagus stalks, lemon juice, lemon zest and oil and pulse until asparagus is coarsely chopped. Transfer pesto to a large bowl and stir in Parmigiano-Reggiano.
4. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta, asparagus tips and reserved cooking water to pesto, tossing to coat, and season with salt and pepper.