Penne with asparagus and lemon pasta – A bright and lemony pesto sauce with penne, asparagus and pine nuts. A quick and easy spring meal.
Yesterday was one of those days that just got away from me. All of a sudden it was 5:30 and I still needed to do laundry, take the dog for a long walk (otherwise she’s nuts), pack up and clear everything out of the living room because the painters were coming in the morning and make dinner – all before 9pm so I would be ready for Game of Thrones! So penne with asparagus and lemon pesto to the rescue. A quick and tasty spring dinner. By adding some lemon to the pesto you create a herby, lemony, bright sauce that pairs really well with asparagus and pasta.
A couple of notes:
- This recipe is quick and fast – measure everything out before you begin cooking and have it all close at hand – while the pasta’s cooking, sauté the asparagus and make the pesto. You can have dinner ready in under 20 minutes – which is always a bonus in my books.
- This is a slightly deconstructed pesto – instead of adding the pine nuts to the pesto sauce I toasted them and sprinkled them over the pasta. I like the taste of the whole nuts versus blending them in to the sauce.
- Toast pine nuts over medium heat. Keep an eye on them or they will burn. I usually just keep shaking the pan until they are done. They only take a minutes or so to brown.
- I used a mixture of parsley and basil. All basil pesto is too strong a taste for me – I like the milder taste that parsley gives the pesto.
- This is not a thick and oily pesto. The lemon juice and a little pasta water lighten the pesto up considerably.
- This recipe couldn’t be more straight forward or easy but if you want to make it really easy just add some lemon to store bought pesto.
|Penne with Asparagus and Lemon Pesto|| |
- 2 cups uncooked penne
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 lemon - juiced
- ½ cup parsley
- ½ cup basil
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- Black pepper - a few twists
- A little pasta water - about 1 or 2 tbs.
- ¼ cup of pine nuts
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add penne and veggie bouillon cube. Cooking according to package directions.
- Wash and snap off the tough ends of asparagus. Slice asparagus into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
- Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan. Add just washed asparagus (with a little water clinging to the asparagus) and 1 minced garlic clove, cover pan and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes. Give the pan a shake after 2 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, parsley, basil, 1 garlic clove, olive oil, parmesan and black pepper to a mini food processor. Puree to create the pesto. If it's too dry add just a touch of pasta water - 1 tbs at a time.
- Add asparagus to a bowl, wipe out the sauté pan and add pine nuts. Heat pan over medium heat and gently shake the pan till the nuts turn golden brown.
- Drain penne and add to the asparagus.
- Toss pasta and asparagus with pesto and toasted pine nuts and serve.
Looking for another fast and tasty pasta dish? Why not try – Pasta with cherry tomatoes, olives and arugula. The recipe uses a no cook sauce that’s a snap to put together.