Add a veggie-packed twist to a classic Italian sauce with a quick and creamy recipe for Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta made with just six ingredients.
I’ve made pesto out of just about every ingredient you can imagine. Basil pesto? Of course. Kale pesto? Absolutely. Jalapeño pesto? Yes indeed. It was about time I turned my attention to those long, tender stalks and transform them from a humble veggie into a flavor-packed pesto perfect for tossing with pasta, whisking into mayo, spooning atop roasted veggies or slathering atop my go-to no-yeast pizza dough. Welcome to the party, Cheesy Asparagus Pesto Pasta!
Can You Put Asparagus In Pesto?
Of course the answer is a resounding “yes!” but it all comes down to how you put it in pesto. If you were to swap out the basil for raw asparagus in any classic recipe, the result would be a gritty paste leaving much to be imagined. The secret? First blanch the asparagus in hot water to quickly tenderize the stalks and preserve the green color, and then blend it with the essential pesto components to make a creamy sauce or spread.
I like to use the sturdy stalks for the pesto itself and keep the flowery tips for tossing into and garnishing atop the pasta. This is root-to-stem cooking at its finest! And like all pesto recipes, the door for customization has been left wide open on this recipe, so feel free to get creative with your preferred nuts.
The Best Nuts for Pesto
Anything goes when it comes to adding nutty richness to pesto sauce. A few of the best nuts for pesto include:
- Pine nuts
Whichever nut you choose, it’s important to toast it prior to adding it to the blender to release the oils and amplify the flavor.
Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes, meal plans and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 Tablespoon
fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon
fresh black pepper
- 1/2 cup
- 1 pound uncooked pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Slice the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and add them to the boiling water for 1 minute then remove them and immediately rinse them under cold water. (Keep the pot of salted water at a boil.)
- Reserve some of the tips of the asparagus to use as garnish. Add the rest of the asparagus to a blender, along with the toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Blend the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds, then with the blender still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until it’s fully incorporated and the mixture is well-blended, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the pasta to the boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl, add the pesto and reserved asparagus spears, tossing to combine. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.