Best of Two Greens: Mark Bittman’s Asparagus Pesto

Count me among those who really like to read newspapers. And that’s where we found this knockout recipe for asparagus pesto. Author and New York Times food writer Mark Bittman sums it up nicely:

“I can eat this stuff with a spoon,” Bittman writes in his column, The Minimalist.

We limited ourselves to a couple of spoonfuls before tossing a fresh batch of the pesto with homemade vermicelli pasta. You can also use it with fish, chicken, eggs, and other vegetables … even ice cream, according to Bittman.

It’s easy to make.  You simply boil the spears in water until tender. “Don’t overdo it,” Bittman advises. “The asparagus will turn gray and flavorless if cooked to death.”

You then purée all the ingredients in a food processor: the asparagus, garlic, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan, pepper, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I should note we toasted the pine nuts beforehand. And we used our Arbosana EVOO.

Speaking of olive oil, Bittman doesn’t always follow his own recommendation to add ¼ cup in this recipe. In a video, he advises using “some” olive oil to make this pesto.

“When I say some, I mean a lot,” he explains in the video.

You should reserve some of the asparagus cooking water after boiling the spears. Bittman suggests adding this to the pesto when making it in the food processor. We forgot to do so, and so instead added a little when combining the pesto and the pasta.

The vermicelli and the pesto were a natural combo. Next time, maybe we’ll be adventurous and take Bittman’s suggestion: combine the pesto with ice cream … home-made extra virgin olive oil ice cream.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch