Springtime is here—I can feel it in my toes. As the weather warms, I always take out my asparagus recipes and start cooking them about mid-April, following the asparagus season as it begins in the Southern U.S. (some of the Texas asparagus this year is great already!) and eventually finds it way up to the local stuff toward the end of May. This recipe came to me fourteen years ago from Restaurant Bouley in New York City. David Bouley’s version was more refined and served over a shellfish ravioli, but I have made this recipe for years with amazing results.
Pasta with Asparagus, Carrot, and Pistachio Pesto
This sauce can be used with any pasta noodle, but I recommend penne, a large macaroni, or rigatoni.
1 lb. asparagus, cleaned and trimmed, root ends peeled of their fibrous tissue and chopped into 1-inch lengths
4 carrots, peeled and cut into coins
Pulse this mixture in a food processor until ground, but not mushy. Combine in a bowl with the following:
3 T. sliced garlic
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
3 T. honey
12 fresh basil leaves
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t. ground cumin
3 T. olive oil
Place in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, uncovering midway through the process. Let mixture cool, and when it is room temperature stir in the following ingredients:
1/4 c. ground roasted pistachios
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. chicken stock
Extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste
For 2 servings, place 12 ounces of sauce into a sauté pan, add 2 portions of noodles (6-8 cooked ounces), and sauté until hot and liquid has tightened around the pasta. Serve, passing plenty of ground Reggiano parmesan at the table.