Asparagus Pesto Linguine

Asparagus is one of the other delicious favorites that is in season right now. Along with strawberries, you can head to Greig Farm in Red Hook and pick your own. It doesn’t get fresher than that!

At Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market we use the fresh herbs, leaves, and vegetables of spring, summer, and fall to make delicious pestos that can be tossed with our hand-made pastas. Fresh asparagus makes a wonderful base for a fresh pesto.

Asparagus Pesto Linguine

Makes 4 servings

1 pound asparagus spears
3 garlic cloves,chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese,plus more for topping
3 tablespoons chopped fresh falt-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pounds dry linguine or spaghetti

Snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Remove the tips; reserve the tips and stems separately.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Season with salt. Add the asparagus stems and cook until they’re just tender,3 to 5 minutes,depending on thickness. Using tongs,transfer the asparagus to a large bowl,cover with cold water,and then drain. Slice the stems into ½-inch long segments and place in the work bowl of a food processor.

Add the tips to the boiling salted water; when tender,about 2 minutes,fish them out with a strainer or slotted spoon. Place the tips in a small bowl,cover with cold water,and drain. Set aside. Keep the cooking water at a low boil.

Add the garlic,mustard and ¼ cup of the olive oil to the food processor with the asparagus stems. Pulse to combine. Add the Parmesan,parsley,and pine nuts. With the motor running,drizzle the remaining olive oil through the feed tube of the processor. Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice to perk up flavors. Pulse again to combine. If you want a thinner consistency,a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water can be added later.

Return the cooking water to a full boil and add the linguine. Cook,stirring occasionally,until done,8 to 12 minutes; check the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining. Add the drained pasta back to the pot and add the pesto and reserved asparagus tips. Cook,stirring,over medium-high heat until hot and well combined,about 1 minute. Add a spoonful of the pasta water,if necessary,to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with grated Parmesan.

Serving suggestions: Enjoy the pasta immediately.

Variations:

  • Brush whole fish,steaks or filets with the pesto as it grills or roasts.
  • Marinate asparagus spears in the pesto before roasting or grilling.

Leftovers: Use pesto for up to 4 days.

Nutrition: A typical serving of asparagus provides more than 50 percent of the Daily Value for folate, a B vitamin that helps in the duplication of healthy cells and protects against heart disease. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin A, and phytochemicals.

Economy: $$ Purchased in season, asparagus is tasty and inexpensive.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

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