Monday, August 3, 2009

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

This one was surely my pantry clean-off. I had a bunch of pencil asparagus in my refrigerator that I wanted to use in something other than making asparagus soup. I decided to go with pesto. Great thing I love about the pesto is, you really just toss a few basic ingredients in to the food processor and just grind them while adding olive oil in to it. It's simple and gives a lot of flavour and richness to your pasta.

The basic ingredients for making any pesto are:-
  • Any herbs/ greens like basil, parsley,spinach, coriander/ cilantro
  • Any kind of nuts like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts
  • Olive oil, cant make pesto without olive oil
  • Garlic cloves- for the beautiful aroma
  • Cheese- most of the times I use Parmesan just because pesto holds it better than any other cheese.
  • Salt and pepper

I said it was my pantry clean off, so I used-:

  • Asparagus - which was sitting in my refrigerator. A bunch of that.
  • Walnuts- a handful of that.
  • Sun dried tomatoes- I always have them on my hand, just because I like them. 4-5 numbers.
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves- I can't imagine pasta without garlic...:) 2-3 big cloves
  • Parmesan cheese- A half of a handful in pesto and rest of the half to top the pasta when it gets ready.
  • Lumachine pasta - which is a salad pasta. I toss it in soups/ salads usually. This was the only one left in my pantry.

  • Salt and pepper
I reserved a cup of a starchy water while I was cooking the pasta and added that to the pesto just to make the pesto a little bit thinner. This makes the pasta to get coated evenly when you mix it with pesto. You can certainly use vegetable stock/ chicken stock or just old plain water. Stock just gives it a little more taste.

Asparagus has tons of benefits to your health. Here are few links:-

Here is how I made my asparagus pesto:-

  • I cut the asparagus in an inch or 2 inch pieces and added them in the boiling water for about3-4 minutes.
  • Just when they were tender enough to grind, I would say half cooked, I turned off the heat drained them and kept aside.
  • I toasted the walnuts in a pan for about 2/3 minutes, just so that they develop the flavour
  • Then I added asparagus, walnuts, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese( shredded/grated), salt and pepper.
  • Just to give it a little citrus kick I added juice of half of a lemon and lemon zest.
  • Grind them together while streaming in olive oil.
In a large pot with enough water, cook the lumachine pasta to Al-Dente. Reserve the starchy liquid to mix with pasta later and drain of the remaining.

Mix the starchy liquid with the pesto and toss it over the pasta, mix well so that pasta is coated well with the pesto.

I reserved my sun dried tomatoes to go in last, because I like them in a bite size pieces and not get mashed in the pesto. So chop them and add to the pasta with the remaining handful of Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy with a nice piece of rustic bread or just on it's own.

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