Penne Asparagus – Another Tasty Treat


penne asparagusTHUNDER BAY – There are few vegetables as tasty, at least to me, as fresh asparagus, while many people serve it steamed with butter and salt, others are more creative.

Here is another tasty recipe from the good folks at Foodland Ontario.

Pesto was first created in Italy as a thick sauce made from basil, but now other herbs and vegetables are often substituted.  In this tasty spring side dish asparagus and mint give a nutritious twist.  It would also make a great meal for vegetarians.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 8

  • 1 lb (500 g) Ontario Asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 cup (250 mL) mint leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) walnut pieces or slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) each finely grated lemon rind and lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable or chicken broth
  • 4 cups (1 L) whole wheat or regular penne
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) grated Ontario Parmesan Cheese
Preparation Instructions:

Remove asparagus tips and set aside.  Cut stalks into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces to make about 2-1/4 cups (550 mL).  Cook stalks in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp.  Drain and rinse under cold water to cool slightly.  Drain well.

Place asparagus stalks and mint in food processor.  With motor running, drop garlic through the feed tube and process until chopped.  Turn off motor.  Add walnuts, lemon rind, lemon juice, salt and pepper; coarsely chop.  Add oil and broth; process until blended but nuts are still a bit chunky.  (Make ahead:  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Return to room temperature before using.)

Meanwhile, cook penne according to package directions, about 12 minutes; adding asparagus tips for last 2 minutes.  Drain well and return to warm saucepan. Add pesto, tossing well.  Serve in pasta bowls; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Information:

1 Serving:

  • Protein: 10.0 grams
  • Fat: 14.0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 43.0 grams
  • Fibre: 6 grams
  • Calories: 330

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