This week arrived with a welcome warmth in the air and daylight that seemingly stretched out for miles, or at least past seven… of course, the asparagus is in full bloom at my local market–all signs that it must be Spring. This week the #SundaySupper crew is embracing its arrival with dozens of Spring-inspired recipes. My contribution puts a seasonal spin on a Genoese classic–Asparagus Pesto with Heirloom Fingerling Potatoes and Orecchiette.
Now you may be thinking paste on paste, really? Well, yes, it’s an Italian thing. In fact, one of my favorite dishes is my grandfather’s “pasta e patate”–a dish comprised of little more than potatoes and pasta tossed with sautéed onions and garlic along with copious amounts of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano. Oh, and a crank or two of the pepper mill. Simple, satisfying, comfort food. Of course, just about everything can be spiffed up with a dollop of pesto, so this recipe piqued my interest.
Adapted from Michael Chiarello’s Tra Vigne Cookbook, this asparagus pesto is a refreshing change-up to the traditional dish–and typical of Chiarello’s signature style. Surely you know him from his TV shows, but around here, Chiarello has been a fixture on the Napa food scene for quite some time. In fact, he was my Aunt June’s long time neighbor. When I connected with him at his Bottega book signing, he shared stories of my late aunt, including times he would bring her fresh-baked biscotti and join her for afternoon tea. I adore that he remembered her so fondly.
The pesto recipe is about double the amount you’ll need, but go ahead and make the full batch. It freezes well, so you can pack some up for later or enjoy it slathered on french bread or whatever you fancy. Who knows how much disappeared onto french bread during the making of this post. I also felt compelled to wipe the food processor bowl clean with more bread. It’s really an effective way to soak up every last bit! Is this TMI?
Add the asparagus, basil, pine nuts, and garlic to the food processor, and whirl until well blended.
With the processor on, drizzle in the olive oil until it looks like zees. Pulse in the Parmesan along with salt and pepper to taste. Note, don’t go too crazy with the salt as the cheese adds plenty. Refrigerate this until ready to use.
Meanwhile, get a pot of salted water boiling and add these babies. (You may need to halve some of the larger potatoes.) Cook ‘em about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan, and saute the cooked potatoes until browned and crispy all over. While these are frying, cook the pasta and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta and potatoes with about half the pesto and more cheese. Thin out with the reserved pasta water if necessary. Salt and pepper to taste. That’s it.
Feel free to hoard a big fat bowl for yourself.
And save the rest of the sauce for later…. OR grab a loaf of crusty bread and dip away. It’s magical.
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cooked
- ½ cup chopped basil, packed
- 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- ¾ lb heirloom fingerling potatoes, rinsed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- ¾ lb orecchiette
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese + some for garnish
- Cut the asparagus into thirds, and add to a food processor bowl along with the basil, pine nuts, and garlic. Whirl until well chopped/blended, then drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is on the low setting.
- Blend in the Parmesan using the pulse setting. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Halve the larger potatoes, and add to a large pot of salted, boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
- In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the potatoes, cooking until brown and crispy on all sides. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook for about 12 minutes or until done. Reserve about ½ cup of the water before draining.
- Add the drained pasta along with the crisped potatoes to a serving bowl and toss with about half the pesto and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the mixture if necessary. Garnish with additional cheese.
OK enough about me. Let’s see what everyone else is cooking up today!
- Baked Eggs with Shaved Asparagus and Proscuitto by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Shrimp and Leek Quiche by Gourmet Drizzles
- Spinach and Cheddar Quiche for St. Patrick’s Day Brunch by Supper For A Steal
- Asparagus and Spring Onion Frittatta by Country Girl in the Village
- Egg Bake with Spring Onions, Asparagus and Artichokes by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Apps, Bread, Salads, Soups and Dressings:
- Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread by The Meltaways
- Strawberry, Avocado, Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette by Daily Dish Recipes
- Asparagus Gazpacho by The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Spinach Bacon Salad by In The Kitchen with Audrey
- Anchovy and Egg Salad by Pescetarian Journal
- Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup by Fast Food to Fresh Food
- Asparagus Red Pepper Salad by No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
- White Asparagus & Salmon Spring Salad by Family Foodie
- Chicken-Strawberry Field Green Salad w/Strawberry Balsamic Dressing by The Weekend Gourmet
- Bacon & Egg Spring Salad by Daddy Knows Less
- Green Garbanzo Hummus by Soni’s Food
Main and Sides:
- Pea Shoot Risotto by Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Creamy Meyer Lemon Pasta by Juanita’s Cocina
- Sweet Ginger Scallion Noodles by What Smells So Good?
- Asparagus Pesto w/Heirloom Fingerlings and Orecchiette by Webicurean
- Coddle for St. Patrick’s Day by Noshing With The Nolands
- Corned Beef Cabbage Rolls by Curious Cuisiniere
- Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Gruyère and Hazelnuts by Hip Foodie Mom
- Raw Cucumber Sandwich with Avocado and Spinach Sauce by Mama’s Blissful Bites
- Berry Tacos by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Asparagus and Prosciutto Bundles by Diabetic Foodie
- Caramelized Grapes and Brie Whole Wheat Galette by Vintage Kitchen
- Pink Water Kimchi (Nabak Kimchi) by Kimchi Mom
- Key Lime Cheesecake by The Foodie Army Wife
- Irish Coffee Ice Cream with Caramel Whiskey Sauce by 30A Eats
- Coconut Raspberry Layer Cake by Gotta Get Baked
- Fresh Mango Berry Mousse With Coconut Cream by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Chocolate Mint Brownies by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Strawberry Sorbet by Magnolia Days
- Cadbury Creme Egg Pull-Apart Sweet Rolls by Chocolate Moosey
- Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Meyer Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches by Cravings of a Lunatic
- Lemon Roll Cake by The Ninja Baker
- Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Candied Flowers by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Lemon Citrus Cookies by Mom’s Test Kitchen
- Mini Fruit Tarts by Big Bear’s Wife
- Faux Fried Ice Cream by Neighborfood
- Watergate Salad by Cupcakes and Pearls Blog
- Good-for-You Strawberry Tiramisu Cheesecake Cups by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Guinness Beer Milkshake by The Urban Mrs
- Wines to Pair with Springtime #SundaySupper Dishes by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EDT for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about our favorite cookout recipes!
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