Walk through any farmers’ market or well-stocked supermarket aisle and you’ll see bundles upon bundles of fresh, local asparagus. Likewise, the table at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, where I went for a lunch a few weekends ago, on a trip organized by Food For Thought Tours. There, I was served asparagus on top of fresh baby greens, and, most unusual, it was all drizzed with a puree of more asparagus and mint. I tried to recreate these fresh flavors in this dish, using the asparagus stalks to create a creamy, thick pesto that amplifies the full flavor of the ingredients.
- 2 lb asparagus
- 1 lb fusilli
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup mint leaves, tightly packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ¾ cup pinenuts, toasted
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanche the asparagus for a few minutes, until just tender. Remove with tongs to an ice bath or a colander until running cold water. Set aside. Return the water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. During the last minute of cooking, add the peas. Drain in a colander.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Using the bottom third of the stalks, add 1 cup of asparagus stalks to a small food processor. Pulse the asparagus along with the mint, garlic, lemon juice, and ¼ cup of the pinenuts. Mix in the parmesan and salt to taste.
- Toss together the pasta, peas, remaining asparagus, toasted pinenuts, and pesto. Best if served immediately. If serving room temperature, make sure you re-taste for seasoning once the pasta has cooled.