Pasta with arugula pesto

For my next trick, I will show you how to make this super quick and easy spaghetti with arugula pesto and shaved asparagus. The whole thing comes together while the pasta is boiling, and you really can’t make anything more delicious with such little effort.

Lately, I have been craving anything green and minimally cooked, and the idea for this dish came to me while planting lots of little green plants in my garden this weekend. I was thinking about how I can’t wait until the basil is big enough to make pesto—and then while flipping through Giada’s new cookbook, I saw a recipe for arugula pesto and thought: that’ll do. Below, the pesto part of the recipe is from “Weeknights with Giada,” which I’ve been enjoying very much.

The thin strips of raw asparagus twirl right on your fork along with the spaghetti, and the bright, peppery taste of the arugula make this a perfect pasta for summer.


Serves 2 (with a bit leftover, maybe)

1/2 bunch asparagus
1/2 pound spaghetti (half of a box)
2 cups packed arugula
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

While the pasta water heats, prepare the asparagus. Cut off the tips and place them in a big bowl that will eventually hold the pasta. Using a veggie peeler, shave the asparagus stalks into strips and place them in the bowl. 

 When the pasta water is boiling, add a bit of salt and then the pasta. Cook to al dente.

Meanwhile, blend the arugula and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the oil and process until well blended.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese, salt and pepper.

Add half of the pesto to the big bowl with asparagus and mix to coat. When the pasta is done, drain and add it to the big bowl. Let the hot pasta soften the raw asparagus for a minute.

Mix everything together with tongs, then add the other half of the pesto or as much as you want. Mix again to make sure the pesto is evenly distributed.

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