Asparagus Pesto Recipe

This Asparagus Pesto Recipe is the perfect springtime accompaniment to chicken, steak, pasta and more.

Asparagus Pesto Recipe

With its bright, rich flavor, this Asparagus Pesto Recipe is a great accompaniment to pan-roasted chicken breast.

Photo By Sarah Sinning

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REFRESHINGLY EASY ASPARAGUS RECIPES FOR ANY OCCASION:
6 Easy Asparagus Recipes

Asparagus Pesto Recipe

Everyone knows the traditional basil pesto, that beloved sauce of the summer garden. But what if you get a hankerin’ for garden-fresh pesto in early spring? Well, rather than pine away for an ingredient that’s still months away, why not get creative and replace it with what you do have? Asparagus, it turns out, is a wonderful substitution for basil in this classic sauce.

Yields 4 to 6 servings

Kosher salt
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed and tender tips cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano is ideal)
Black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt water liberally. Remember, the rule of thumb when cooking pasta or blanching vegetables is to make your water as salty as the sea. Add asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove asparagus to prepared ice bath — ice water in large bowl — to stop cooking process.

Meanwhile, roast garlic cloves, removed from bulb but still in paper, by placing in dry pan over medium heat. Once bulbs become soft to touch and slightly brown, about 10 minutes, remove and peel.

Place asparagus, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and pinch of black pepper into bowl of food processor. Turn on motor and begin chopping/mixing process. With motor running, slowly pour in enough olive oil so sauce comes together; start with 1/4 cup. Stop motor, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add lemon juice, and then adjust seasoning by adding additional salt, pepper and lemon juice, if needed; pulse a few more times to combine.

Serve with pasta and a few lightly steamed asparagus spears, or with chicken, fish or even steak.