Sometimes I become so smitten by a dish that my husband is stuck eating it over and over while I perfect it. This season it's asparagus with pesto fettuccine, which started when I learned to use a thick vegetable peeler to pull lengthwise strips off the stalks of blanched asparagus. When you toss the asparagus strands, which resemble fettuccine, with some real fettuccine, the dish twirls into a colorful mound. To make it really green, add a little pesto sauce. You can freeze extra pesto in ice cube trays, and when it's pesto night - in our household that seems to be every night - pull out a few cubes, melt them in a little pasta cooking water, and you've got dinner. In the meantime, I need to find another dish before my guinea pig goes on strike.
|1/2||cup pine nuts|
|1||cup packed basil leaves (about 2 large bunches)|
|1/2||cup packed parsley leaves|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|1/2||cup olive oil|
|1/4||cup grated Parmesan|
1. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan occasionally, over medium-low heat until golden brown; cool slightly.
2. In a food processor, work the nuts until fine. Add the basil, parsley, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Puree until finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream.
3. Fold in the Parmesan. Freeze remaining pesto in ice cube trays; once frozen, pop into a freezer bag.
|Salt, to taste|
|3||tablespoons olive oil|
|1||shallot, finely chopped|
|12||ounces fresh fettuccine|
2. Let the water return to a boil.
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the pesto, asparagus strips, and 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Bring to a simmer and let the sauce reduce for a minute. Add a little more water and reduce again. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
4. Drop the fettuccine into the boiling water and cook for a few minutes or until the pasta is tender but still has some bite. Using a pasta spoon, transfer the pasta to the pesto sauce. Set over high heat, add a little pasta water if necessary to loosen the sauce, and toss gently.