Pasta with Asparagus Pesto

Late frost or not, I’m still intent on enjoying spring. This weekend’s forecast seems promising so in the meantime I’ve been keeping my hopes up by cooking. When I stopped by In Season Local Market a few days ago, they had local asparagus from Mauro Farms. Asparagus is one of my favorite things in the entire world so I bought a giant bunch. It made me think about an asparagus pesto I made last year that was fabulous so I hunted around for the recipe. The original is from Simply Recipes and is great. Mine is adapted from that- mostly because I love basil too and couldn’t bear to leave it out. In addition to the asparagus, I found the spinach, basil and Gouda at In Season as well.

Pasta with Asparagus Pesto:
1 bunch asparagus spears, hard ends removed
1 big handful spinach leaves (grown by Osage Gardens)
1 small handful basil leaves (also grown by Osage)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c Gouda cheese, grated (this is from Twin Mountain Milkhouse)
1/2 c pine nuts
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
8 oz dried pasta (mine was local Pappardelle’s Gourmet 5 Pasta Blend purchased at the farmers market)

Bring two pots of water to a boil, one for the pasta and one for the asparagus. While the water is heating, toast the pine nuts in a skillet until lightly browned, then set aside. Put the asparagus into one of the pots of water and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green and then drain. Cut the tips off of the asparagus and save to later toss with the pasta. Cut the spears into chunks. Put the asparagus, spinach, garlic, basil, Parmesan, Gouda, and pine nuts into your food processor. Puree and stop occasionally to slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the lemon juice and salt and continue to blend until it is a thick sauce. Add the pasta to its pot of boiling water and cook as per package directions. Drain and top the hot pasta with asparagus tips and the pesto.I may be biased, but this was amazing and so pretty! Just what I needed to get me thinking spring again. The best part is that we had just enough left over to make asparagus pesto pizzas this weekend. I cant wait!

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