Pesto doesn’t have to be made only with herbs- greens, such as baby kale or arugula, also work great. I like to combine them with one or two fresh herbs for a bright and balanced flavor. I also like to use different nuts in my pesto, sometimes pine nuts, sometimes almonds, sometimes walnuts; here I use pistachios.
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
- Kosher salt
- 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound cavatappi
- 1 bunch medium-thickness asparagus, tough stems trimmed, bottoms peeled, stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Put the spinach, parsley, pistachios, and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process to make a chunky paste. Add the olive oil with the machine running to make a smooth pesto. Transfer to a serving bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper.
Add the cavatappi to the boiling water and cook until al dente; add the asparagus in the last 4 minutes. Remove pasta and asparagus with a spider to the serving bowl. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding up to 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water if it seems dry, and serve.