Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Recently I shared that I’d dreamed up an asparagus version of pesto, and the recipe I came up with is quite remarkable, if I say so myself. There were so many choices with the pesto ingredients, but I decided on almonds for the nuts, and to keep the pesto herb-free. I thought about a little fresh mint at first, but I decided to just let the fresh asparagus shine.

And shine it did. It’s not a super strong pesto, especially compared to a basil variety, but it full of flavor from the almonds and garlic as well. I’m very happy with the recipe. I could just spread it on warm bread and eat it like that.

But it’s probably not surprising that I chose to toss this pesto with pasta. But I did something a little different. I’d just made some fresh ricotta the day before (yes, it will be in a future post), and I decided to mix the pesto with the fresh ricotta. It turned out perfectly. The pasta would have been delicious simply tossed with the ricotta-less pesto, with lots of grated Parmesan, but I just wanted to treat this pesto differently.

Asparagus Pesto-Ricotta Pasta

1 – 12 ounce package of your choice of pasta
Approximately 10 ounces of asparagus pesto
An equal amount of fresh ricotta or farmers’ cheese
Grated Parmesan

Cook your pasta according to package directions. Have you ever used one of these gadgets? It’s a rubbery thing that you place on top of your pot and it keeps the water from overflowing. Since I invariably boil over water when I cook pasta, I’ve gotten pretty good at always using this thing.

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Drain the pasta and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the asparagus pesto and the ricotta cheese.

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Mix them together with a spoon. I didn’t try to blend them together too much; I like the texture of the ricotta.

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Add the warm pasta and toss to coat the pasta completely.

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I served the pasta sprinkled with grated Parmesan, alongside a pan-fried salmon steak.

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The combination was really good.

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I think I could have also chopped the mint leaves and sprinkled them on top as well, but I didn’t.

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verdict: I will make asparagus pesto again, and again. The only difference is that the pesto by itself could taste a little more like asparagus. So I might add a little more asparagus next time, but keep the other ingredients the same. Mixed with the ricotta, the pesto is just a creamy, flavorful mixture with a hint of asparagus. It’s quite delicious, and would be a wonderful side dish to any protein, or simply served as is, with a tomato salad.

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By Published On: April 1st, 201441 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

41 Comments

  1. thesinglegourmetandtraveller April 1, 2014 at 8:14 AM - Reply

    Lovely recipe and great idea.

  2. Natalie @ Tastes Lovely April 1, 2014 at 9:23 AM - Reply

    This sounds delicious! So happy asparagus is back in season. One of my favorite spring vegetables. Can’t wait to give this pesto a try!

    • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 10:49 AM - Reply

      I can’t wait to see what you think! I think it’s quite marvelous!

  3. apuginthekitchen April 1, 2014 at 9:24 AM - Reply

    Really nice, asparagus pesto sounds so good and really perfect for a Spring dish. That pasta with the pesto and ricotta looks so creamy and totally delicious.

    • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 10:48 AM - Reply

      I would have been good as is, just pasta and the pesto, but the ricotta added a nice creaminess!

  4. trixpin April 1, 2014 at 10:44 AM - Reply

    It looks amazing – I’d never have thought of asparagus pesto. And that no-spill gadget is awesome – I’d use it for potatoes which, no matter how hard I try, ALWAYS boil over and make a disgusting black mess on the hob top.

    • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 10:48 AM - Reply

      I know. I’m always overflowing stuff. This thing really works!

      • trixpin April 1, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        Defo have to get myself one! Thank you so much for sharing :)

  5. Jovina Coughlin April 1, 2014 at 10:50 AM - Reply

    Ha, I have one of those boiling pot covers also. Thank you for another way to use asparagus.

  6. Mama's Gotta Bake April 1, 2014 at 11:04 AM - Reply

    I love asparagus for the springtime, sounds divine in a pesto! Yes, will give it a try!

  7. sallybr April 1, 2014 at 11:08 AM - Reply

    I absolutely MUST make my own ricotta, I hear so many comments about how wonderful it is compared to store bought

    I will wait for your post, I know it will be fantastic!

    Great pasta, by the way…. love this type of concoction!

    • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 11:46 AM - Reply

      It’s from a Williams-Sonoma kit I got as a gift, but you don’t need one. It’s been years, but I used to make my own paneer, and it’s the same process. It was fun trying!

  8. Elaine @ foodbod April 1, 2014 at 12:29 PM - Reply

    Looks wonderful and fresh x

  9. StefanGourmet April 1, 2014 at 12:40 PM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, are you going to post the recipe for the asparagus pesto? I think the ricotta was a good idea. It could also be nice to include the asparagus tips (steamed or sous-vide) as well to provide additional texture.

    • Sockmonkeys Kitchen April 1, 2014 at 2:00 PM - Reply

      Stefan, if you click the word “pesto”, it will take you to the link for her recipe =0)

      • StefanGourmet April 1, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Oops, that was silly of me. Somehow I missed yesterday’s post about the pesto. I was wondering whether the asparagus were cooked or not. I think it’d also be nice to use creamy goat cheese instead of the ricotta, and then drink sauvignon blanc with it.

      • Sockmonkeys Kitchen April 1, 2014 at 4:50 PM

        =0)

      • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Absolutely! And, of course, Parmesan would be just as good, just like a regular pesto.

      • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        Thanks!

  10. Amanda April 1, 2014 at 1:33 PM - Reply

    Wow. Herb free pesto. yum! I always love your gadgets :)

  11. Sockmonkeys Kitchen April 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM - Reply

    oh MY this sounds perfect! The best part is that I just bought 3 beautiful bunches of super skinny asparagus at the Farmers Market on Sunday. Yay for Aspargus Pesto! Cannot wait to try this… and I”m really looking forward to your ricotta recipe! =0)

    • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 6:35 PM - Reply

      Thank you! I personally thought it was sensational, with and without ricotta. It would be a good topping over feta cheese on crostini as well…

  12. Conor Bofin April 1, 2014 at 2:11 PM - Reply

    Great invention Mimi. Very impressive.

    • chef mimi April 1, 2014 at 6:34 PM - Reply

      Thank you! Now my husband wants me to make a fresh pea pesto! Great idea!

  13. KerryCan April 1, 2014 at 4:28 PM - Reply

    I somehow missed the pesto recipe so I’m very glad you followed up with this meal idea! I’m with your husband–any pesto on ANYTHING works for me!

  14. ladyredspecs April 1, 2014 at 4:46 PM - Reply

    I love asparagus and ricotta together, with lemon zest, mmmmm

  15. Phil @foodfrankly April 2, 2014 at 5:39 AM - Reply

    Delicious mimi. Love the salmon combo.

  16. kathysteger April 2, 2014 at 8:32 AM - Reply

    Asparagus pesto pasta is one of my all time favorite dishes. I can eat it on a weekly basis and not get tired. Great recipe :)

    • chef mimi April 2, 2014 at 8:42 AM - Reply

      hey! I thought i invented it!!! obviously not. it really is fabulous.

  17. eliotthecat April 2, 2014 at 4:58 PM - Reply

    Great idea. I love spring and fresh asparagus. Love that pasta cooking lid too!

    • chef mimi April 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM - Reply

      It really comes in handy if you’re absent minded like me!

  18. saucygander April 3, 2014 at 4:27 AM - Reply

    I need one of those gadgets! Lovely pesto, I haven’t had as much time to read everyone’s posts recently, so am really glad you posted your asparagus pesto again!

    • chef mimi April 3, 2014 at 7:41 AM - Reply

      The gadget is very handy. My girlfriend wishes she had four of them.

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