Pasta with Asparagus and Pesto Sauce
Spring means two things – tulips cut fresh from my garden, and fresh asparagus. Several years ago, Jon, my dad, and I spent the better part of a day planting tulip bulbs in my side garden. (Full disclosure…my dad did the majority of the really hard work!) Every spring since then, I have this amazing cutting garden of fresh tulips for about 3 weeks. It doesn’t last long, but it is so much fun and helps bring spring inside our home.
I feel the same way about asparagus…it helps bring spring into the kitchen. So when I saw it at the store the other day, I decided to make orecchiette with asparagus in a homemade pesto sauce. Yum!
I started off with diced red onion, salt, and pepper. Once the onion had sauteed for a little bit, I added the roughly chopped asparagus to the pan to cook plus a little bit of allspice.
When the asparagus had cooked and everything was getting caramelized and yummy, I added a little bit of rice vinegar to the pan to deglaze it and help create a sauce. I have to say, I have never combined rice vinegar with asparagus before, but the combination was amazing! Once the asparagus had absorbed some of the liquid, it got sweet and a little tartness from the vinegar. I could have eaten the asparagus/onion combination for dinner just like that. However, I knew Jon would be a little skeptical if I served him a plate of sauteed asparagus and onion so I continued with making the pesto sauce and cooking the pasta.
I decided to use walnuts instead of the traditional pinenuts in my pesto sauce, so put a handful of them to grind in the Cuisinart while I washed and separated the basil leaves from the stems.
I added the basil leaves along with a generous amount of salt and pepper, and finally adding olive oil to complete the pesto sauce.
By now the pasta was done cooking. It went into the pan with the asparagus and the pesto sauce, along with a little of the pasta cooking water. Once everything had been mixed together, it was ready to serve. It tasted like spring in a bowl!