Asparagus Pesto

        From the blog For Love of the Table

4 oz. (trimmed weight) asparagus, cut into 2 to 3 inch lengths at an angle

1 small clove of garlic, peeled and smashed to a purée with a pinch of salt

1/4 c. lightly toasted pine nuts

1/4 c. packed basil leaves (about 1/4 ounce), washed and dried

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. grated Parmesan (3/4 oz.)

Salt, to taste


In a pot of boiling, well salted water, blanch the asparagus until quite tender—about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl of ice water, or rinse under cold running water, to stop the cooking process. Blot dry.


Place the cooked asparagus, garlic, basil and pine nuts in the food processor and process until the ingredients are finely and evenly chopped and beginning to purée (stop the food processor a couple of times to scrape down the sides).  With the food processor running, add the oil in a thin stream to achieve a sauce that is the consistency of mayonnaise.  If necessary, add a bit more oil.  Scrape down the sides; add the cheese and pulse to combine.  Thin with water if necessary to achieve a thick, saucy pesto.  Add salt to taste.  Makes a scant 1 cup.


Note:  This recipe makes exactly what you will need for 12 oz. of pasta (which will serve 4)...but is easily doubled if you would like to have leftovers for other uses.  It will keep, filmed with oil, in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for several days.


(Recipe adapted from The Tra Vigne Cookbook—Seasons in theCalifornia Wine Country, Michael Chiarello)