Top this with a poached or fried egg and you have the perfect spring supper. My husband likes to add crispy bacon; everything is better with bacon. Right?
Serves 6 as part of a multi-course meal or 4 for a main course
1 pound dry pasta, fusilli style
1 pound fresh asparagus
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon tarragon leaves packed
1/4 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/16 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (25 grams or 3/4 ounce)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more to your taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Optional topping: 6 eggs sunny side up or poached
1. Bring your pasta water to a boil in a tall pot. Cut ½ inch off the bottom of the asparagus and discard .Next cut the tips on the diagonal and reserve for garnish. Cut the remaining spears in half crosswise. Add three tablespoons salt to the boiling water add the asparagus.
2. Place a strainer insert to the pasta pot and cook tips for about 2 minutes. Lift strainer from pot and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Return the strainer insert to the pot and add the asparagus stems. Cook for four minutes (until tender). Have ready a bowl of ice water large enough to hold the asparagus stems.
3. Bring the same water the asparagus was cooked in to a boil and add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Heat the pasta bowls.
4. While the pasta is cooking place the asparagus in the bowl of a food processor add the garlic, mint and walnuts. Puree until it is almost a smooth paste scraping down the sides as needed. Add the olive oil, chili flakes, Parmigiano Reggiano, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and pulse a few times to mix.
5. When the pasta is al dente remove 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain pasta and return to the pot it was cooked in. Add the asparagus pesto and mix to coat the pasta. If the pasta soaks the pesto up like a sponge and seems dry add some of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately in warm pasta bowls, garnish with reserved asparagus tips and eggs if you like and pass extra grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie