RECIPE

Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto Pasta

Go green with an exciting and novel mix of ingredients for a luscious pesto for pasta topped with cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves or 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons pistachios, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or made into a paste
  • Juice of 1 lime or 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 cup fresh shelled peas or defrosted frozen organic peas
  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for garnish

Preparation

Trim the tough ends from the asparagus. Store half of the spears upright in a glass filled halfway with water to keep it fresh for a few days, or until ready to serve. Chop the remaining asparagus and place it in a food processor. Add the mint, parsley, tarragon, cheese, pistachios, garlic and lime juice. Add the EVOO, pouring to a count of 6 (1/3-1/2 cup). Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the pesto comes together. Place in a small container and store in the refrigerator if not using immediately.


To serve, bring the pesto to room temperature and place it in a large, shallow serving bowl. Slice the reserved asparagus spears on an angle into 1 1/2-inch pieces.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta and season with salt. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes, then add the peas and chopped asparagus and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the starchy cooking water and add it to the serving bowl to thin the pesto. Drain the pasta, peas and asparagus and add to the bowl. Toss for 1-2 minutes to combine. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the shaved cheese.


Cook’s Note: The pesto can be stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

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Rachael Ray