Asparagus Pesto

July 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Who knew that asparagus was so scandalous…

Banned from nunneries by the church during the Renaissance, asparagus, much thanks to its shape, was thought to be an aphrodisiac. I guess it really is an appropriate plant to symbolize the spring time, when everything from the lettuce to the birds are reproducing. This asparagus pesto is a perfect farewell to the rather “phallic” shaped shoot that is much missed after its fleeting appearance in the cool days of Spring.

For some reason, I’m extremely sensitive to the taste of hot, spicy flavors.  FICTION: I have phenomenal taste buds; therefore I can really taste the heat of anything with a kick – probably not the truth, but it does sound good. FACT: I do believe that sometimes just the right amount of heat (for me that is a miniscule amount) can really enhance the flavors of lots of sauces. With a wee bit of red pepper flakes, this is exactly the case here.

Asparagus Pesto:

30-40 roasted asparagus, fibrous end trimmed,  3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese,  1/3 cup pistacios, shelled,  1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting,  1/4 tsp black pepper, sea salt & red pepper flakes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet drizzle olive oil over the trimmed asparagus until they are moderately saturated, then season with salt. Roast until soft & fragrant, about 15 minutes. When the asparagus are finished, add the first five ingredients to a food processor (a blender works as well) & process until almost smooth. Scrape in the oil & left over salt from the baking sheet, add salt & red pepper flakes, then process. Taste & adjust seasonings.

I tossed the asparagus pesto with penne & topped it with a small scoop of homemade farmers cheese, but it can be used in various ways. I think it would be delicious on top of some broiled day-old-baguettes then topped with a slice of roasted tomato (when they’re in season of course). The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days & can be frozen to enjoy at a later date.

Enjoy!

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