Asparagus Pesto

Most recently, i paired this with puff pastry and cured salmon (see Mother's Day Brunch), but i've served it over toast (see Tad's birthday menu), mixed it with orichiette, tiny fried potato cubes, and pancetta, stirred it into israeli cous-cous served with sausages... you get the picture. Very versatile. And Beca liked it! A cooked veggie! This is definitely one for your sprint repetoire.

From the Tra Vigne cookbook.

1 large bunch asparagus, about one pound, trimmed and cooked for five minutes in boiling water.
1/2 cup packed coarsley chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
about 1 cup pure olive oil
1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cut the aspagus spears into thirds. Put in a food processor with the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that you will add Parmesan as well, so be careful not to oversalt. With the machine running, solwly add the cup of olive oil. When the sauce is about the consistency of mayonnaise, it has enough oil. Pulse in the parmesan. Thin with water if necessary to acheive a slick, saucy pesto. Scrape into a bowl or jar, cover and refrigerate until needed. You should have about 3 cups.

Caveats: I used more pine nuts (4-5 tbsp). I use about 3/4 cup virgin olive oil. I used a little less parmesan, and maybe a tiny bit more garlic. I have sucessfully done this without basil (paler green, more purely asparagus), and without the parmesan (for a vegan starter).

Posted by shock on May 23, 2003 | TrackBack

Pending getting my very own account, I will use the pesto topic as an opener. The other day I made pesto with hazelnuts and parsley instead of basil/pinenuts. I toasted the hazelnuts, ground them up fine, added a bunch of parsley, some hazelnut oil, some olive oil, some lemon juice, some parmesan, some salt and pepper. And it was just excellent. The hazelnuts were toasty and sweetish and the parsley and lemon made it all fresh tasting. And so fast. (I can't understand how pesto came to be invented before the food processor.)

We served this on pasta, once with chicken mixed in and once without. And I also used it as a sandwich spread on tortillas, and I am Not Ashamed!

Posted by: Carmel on May 28, 2003 10:38 AM

What kind of processor do you use? I used to have a full size Cuisinart (oh, so many moves ago) but I don't have the space now.

Anyone tried the little 2-3c. kitchen prep ones with good results? They look so cute that I wonder if they're really effective...

Posted by: naomi_traveller on May 29, 2003 9:30 AM

I use a full-sized Cuisinart (i have to keep it tucked away in a cabinet, though). I do have one of those wee prep ones that attaches to my stick blender, but i've never tried this recipe in one. The one thing that's very nice about the cuisinart is the ability to pour the olive oil in in a stream, so that you can watch it emulsify until you have the right texture.

Posted by: meriko on May 29, 2003 11:48 AM
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