It's Asparagus Season!!!
My favourite time of year. Hooray!
It's such a short season from the end of April here in the UK to around the end of June. Traditionally the Asparagus season starts on the 23rd April, however this year it's arrived a week early due to balmy spring weather much to my joy! Which allows me to have this little dish up on the day Asparagus season opens!
Asparagus probably tie equal place with Avocado in my all time favourite vegetables, which means I great each season with great enthusiasm.
I had snaffled a particularly juicy bundle from the market, and funnily enough, The Gardener, knowing (and sharing) my passion for these divine green things, had also bought a bunch.
We devoured the first lot simply lightly grilled with a poached egg on top, cutting into the yolk to form a sauce to coat the spears, adding a tiny bit of my homemade sriracha sauce to spice things up. One of Springs true culinary pleasures.
But the next night- I needed to also use up an avocado, and I craved pasta- and had picked up a pot of basil from the supermarket whilst my own still finds its-- errr -- roots. And remembering one of my previous dishes that I had used avocado in to form a sauce, thought it would be nice to whizz the avocado in with the basil, a garlic clove, a little lemon juice and some oil to form a kind of (very non-traditional Italian) pesto.
And then, to add crunch I added some lightly toasted pinenuts and pumpkins seeds. The Gardener added some cheese to sprinkle, but I didn't think it needed it, the flavours all work so well and zingily together.
I'm planning on eating Asparagus almost every day for the next 2 months- tell me your favourite way to eat it!
- Penne Pasta - 1 ¼ cups
- 1 bunch Asparagus , the woody ends snapped off, then cut into the same size as the penne
- 1 Avocado
- 1 large handful basil
- 1 small clove garlic
- Juice ⅓ lemon
- 1 Tbs Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 Tbs Pine Nuts
- 1 Tbs Pumpkin Seeds
Put the pasta water onto boil.
Meanwhile in a little blender or food processor whiz together the avocado, basil, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil with a sprinkle of salt, until you make a smooth pesto paste. You might need to scrape the sides of the processor down a few times. Taste and add more lemon/salt if needed.
Lightly toast the pinenuts and pumpkin seeds in an unoiled frying pan.
Add the pasta to the water and cook as per the packet instructions, until you have 3 mins until the pasta is aldente.
Add in the asparagus stems to the pasta pan, leaving the tips out for another minute, then add them in too.
Once the pasta and asparagus is cooked, drain and return to the saucepan.
Toss the avocado pesto through, adding in most of the pinenuts and pumpkin seeds.
Serve with the remaining pinenuts & pumpkin seeds to garnish.
This is actually pretty delicious cold too- but as avocado oxidises and doesn't look so pretty, if you were going to make this for a BBQ or picnic, make on the same day and add extra lemon to keep it looking fresh.