Active Time
N/A
Total Time
30 MIN
Yield
Serves : 4

Roasted asparagus is a wonderful side dish on its own, but combined with the usual pesto ingredients it makes for a surprising sauce that stands up to the nutty flavor of whole-wheat pasta. If you make extra pesto, freeze it in ice cube trays for year-round access to the classic flavor of spring. Slideshows: Perfect Pesto Recipes

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and browned in spots. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Step 2    

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the garlic with the basil, cheese, pine nuts, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of salt until combined. Add the roasted asparagus and process until a smooth paste forms, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, about 45 seconds. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and process until just combined, about 10 seconds longer.

Step 3    

In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water to the pesto in the food processor and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

Step 4    

In a bowl, toss the pasta with the pesto, adding additional cooking water if necessary, until the pasta is well coated with the pesto. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Notes

Tip: Substitute broccoli or kale for a different take on this vegetable pesto. Tip: The pesto also makes a terrific sauce for a pita or English muffin pizza. Tip: Pine nuts are traditional in pesto, but try almonds, walnuts, or pistachios for an equally good sauce. One serving: 429 cal, 20 gm fat, 4 gm sat fat, 47 gm carb, 9 gm fiber, 19 gm protein.

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