Blogging Marathon# 27: Week 3/ Day 1
Theme: Seasonal Dishes – Spring Entree
Dish: Penne with Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto
Growing up in South India, the only seasons I knew were Summer and Rainy. There was winter, but it wasn’t ‘really’ winter by any standards. There was no seasonal cooking and I don’t think I even heard of such a thing while in India.
Living on the east coast of US for the past 12+ years, we enjoy (or not) all 4 seasons. My favorites being Spring and Fall. I especially like Spring and love seeing the little buds on the trees, the greenery and the nature waking up from long harsh winter. Spring makes me really happy, I guess it’s because I start to feel life around and it just gives me pure joy.
We start our 3rd week of our month long blogging marathon and the theme for next 8 days is “Seasonal dishes”. I’m planning to showcase dishes for all the 4 seasons we experience in our neck of woods. These dishes either use seasonal ingredients or are made during that season for various reasons.
I’m going to start with “Spring” because it’s my favorite and also because it IS finally Spring here. Here are some pictures from around my house. Don’t these look colorful and so beautiful!!
Today’s dish uses tender asparagus that are at their freshest best in Spring. This recipe is from Rachael Ray’s Show. This is a great pasta dish that is perfect for this time of the year and the pistachio pesto is oh-so tasty.
Penne with Asparagus & Pistachio Pesto
For Pistachio Pesto:
- ½ cup Pistachios
- 1 cup Cilantro (lightly packed)
- 1 cup Spinach , cooked (I used frozen spianch that was thawed)
- ½ cup Vegetable Stock
- ¼ cup Extra virgin Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- to taste Salt Pepper and
- 1 bunch Asparagus - cut into long pieces
- 1 cup Green peas
- 1 Onion - small, finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic - minced
- 2 tbsp All purpose flour
- 1 cup Vegetable stock
- Parmesan cheese - for serving (optional)
- to taste Salt Pepper and
- Make the Pesto: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend to make pesto of desired consistency.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the chopped asparagus and cook for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl and run very cold water over it to stop cooking.
- Next add pasta to the same water and cook as per package directions. Add peas to water about 2 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Reserve 1cup of cooking liquid.
- In a saucepan, melt 2tbsp butter and 1tbsp olive oil; add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant and onion is translucent. Sprinkle the flour and whisk to make a roux, making sure that there are no lumps.
- When the flour turns a light brown color, add the stock and whisk to form a gravy. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
- Turn off the heat and add the pesto along with asparagus, green peas and pasta. Add the reserved cooking water, mix well. Check seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with grated parmesan cheese if desired.