Asparagus Pesto Spaghetti
1/2 kg asparagus spears, trimmed
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves (approximately 160 grams)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
1 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of ½ lemon
1/2 Tsp salt
500 g of dried spaghetti
Use a large saucepan to boil water for the asparagus and pasta.
While the water is heating, toast the pine nuts in a large fry pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally until the pine nuts are fragrant and golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. You will use ¾ cup of the pine nuts for the pesto and ¼ cup to mix in whole.
Place the trimmed asparagus in the pot of salted boiling water. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Cook for a minute or 2 longer if you are using fatter spears. Remove from pot and run under cold water to stop the spears from cooking further. Cut the tips off the asparagus (about 2.5cm from the tip) and set aside to use for garnish. Save the asparagus water to cook your pasta.
In a food processor add the remaining asparagus stalks, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and ¾ cup of the pine nuts. With the motor running, drizzle in the 1/3 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the asparagus water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.
Using the asparagus water, cook your spaghetti according to the directions on the pack. Drain and toss immediately with the asparagus and spinach pesto.
Place the asparagus tips on top of the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of pine nuts and serve with grated Parmesan and a light drizzle of olive oil