My dear friend and great cook Cindy raved about this recipe during the peak of asparagus season.  Full disclosure: the year was 2010.  Yes, it takes me a while to get to important stuff, but I finally made it. Better late than never!  I am fond of the traditional Genovese pesto, but often find it a bit overwhelming.  This version takes just a bit of basil in a sea of asparagus, and I guarantee if you make it even the die-hard asparagus haters (like two of my stepsons ;-)) will fall for it.

(adapted from Cindy, who adapted it from Michael Chiarello)

1 lb asparagus|
1 cup (lightly packed) basil leaves
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
1 clove garlic, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup low fat yogurt
about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Boil the asparagus in salted water until very tender. Drain, reserving the water, and cool slightly. Put in a food processor with the all of the other ingredients except the oil, and puree well. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Taste and adjust for seasonings and consistency. It should be about the thickness of mayonnaise.

Return the water used for cooking the asparagus to a boil and cook pasta. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Mix the pasta and pesto, thinning with the pasta cooking water as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning.


to print the recipe, click here

We had this pasta with a juicy, thick salmon steak, cooked to perfection by the master grilling-guru whom I married 12 and a half happy years ago.  The pesto was excellent with the whole wheat pasta, but a small amount topping the hot salmon just as it left the grill was mind-blowing delicious!    I actually think grilled salmon and asparagus pesto might be the gastronomic discovery of 2012 for me, and I have to thank Cindy for it.

And now, for something completely different, once again.  While reading Sawsan’s blog, Chef in Disguise, I learned that she’s got two awards:  The Versatile Blogger, and Very Inspiring Blogger.  I smiled and told myself  “she definitely deserves them both!”.    Much to my surprise and delight, she passed them to a few bloggers and there was the Bewitching Kitchen! Now I am the proud receiver of those awards too!   Versatile, maybe. Inspiring?  Wow, that would be awesome…

Thanks so much, Sawsan!

ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine

TWO YEARS AGO: Under the spell of lemongrass

THREE YEARS AGO: Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!