Spring has finally sprung. (I think) It appears to be getting a little warmer. I love all the sounds and colors of spring. People are out cleaning up their yards and patios. Riding bikes, taking a walk, watching a baseball game, and picnic's.
This dish would be perfect either way hot or cold. Next time we will try it out cold. The asparagus was perfect and the peas add a little sweetness. The mint and garlic in the pesto add such a refreshment to the pallet. I am starting to think going healthy is fun... We had a late start at making this dinner but with the help of my partner in crime it only to about 30 minutes. A 2 1/2 cup serving is only 480 calories. Since we walked eight miles today I think I can handle the calories. Our Vegan daughter would love this she could just leave off the cheese. The raw's in the family could put the veggies and pesto over spinach greens. Trying to make everyone happy.
Spring Vegetable Pesto Pasta
8 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 lb. whole wheat fusilli or penne pasta
1 lb. thin asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
2 cup peas, fresh or thawed from frozen, divided
6 oz. basil stems discarded (about 5 cups loosely packed
8 springs mint, stems discarded (about 1 cup loosely packed)
1 oz freshly grated Parmesan (1/2-3/4 cup depending on the grater), divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Preheat the oven to 300 F Lightly brush or spray the garlic with oil. Roast the garlic with the pine nuts on a baking sheet until the nuts are golden brown and the garlic has softened, about 12 minutes.
Boil the pasta in a large pot of water. Add the asparagus 2 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking. Add 1 1/2 cup of the peas when the pasta is done. Turn off the burner, drain the pasta and vegetables, and return them to the pot.
While the pasta is cooking make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse the roasted garlic and pine nuts with the basil, mint, 1/2 cup of peas, half the Parmesan, and the oil until uniformly chopped. Season with the pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and stir into the pesto.
Toss the pasta and vegetables with the pesto. Serve immediately sprinkled with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining Parmesan. Serves 4