It was not my intention to blog on this recipe. However, upon assembling the ingredients, the colors shouted to me to at least take their picture if nothing else - and I'm so glad I did.
This is such an easy (and healthy!) dinner to throw together on a weeknight. All I can say is to use your favorite pasta. I ended up using a store-brand pasta (.99/lb) as opposed to the visually appealing organic pasta listed for $3/lb.. The store brand, which I have to mention because they have such a following, is Whole Foods. I love this store - just not their pasta - it has a gummy texture. I prefer the Barilla Plus pasta, which Whole Foods carries, albeit a small selection (shapes).
Other than the pasta issue, this was very tasty and a bit different. A nice change. The sauce is an [asparagus] pesto, made with almonds - not pine nuts; which is a good thing for I am not a fan of pine nuts, not only for their taste, but their outrageous price tag; and don't skip garnishing the pasta with the extra almonds - they add a nice nutty, crunchy, and textural contrast to the delicate pasta and tomatoes.
This dish is visually appealing as it is delicious - you may want to add this to your list of recipes to make for company.
Success meter (1-3): 3
Linguine with Roasted Asparagus
and Almond Pesto
Serves 4 to 6
¾ lb. asparagus, trimmed
2 cups grape tomatoes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 lb. dried linguine
Freshly ground black pepper
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on one half of a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the tomatoes on the other half of the sheet. Drizzle both with 1 Tbs. of the oil, season with ¼ tsp. salt, and toss to coat. Roast on the top rack until the tomatoes have collapsed and the asparagus are bright green, about 20 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, put the almonds on another rimmed baking sheet and toast on the bottom rack, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. (I toasted them in a pan on the cooktop – you have to watch them very carefully though for they can burn very quickly.)
Reserve 1 heaping Tbs. of the almonds for garnish and put the remaining almonds in a food processor. Remove the tips from the asparagus and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining asparagus and add to the food processor along with the basil, cheese, ½ tsp. salt, and the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Pulse until a coarse paste forms, about 10 seconds. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat. If necessary, add some or all of the reserved cooking water to loosen the pesto to a saucy consistency. Garnish with the tomatoes, asparagus tips, and reserved almonds, and serve.
Fine Cooking/Cook Fresh 2013