We have been nursing a tiny patch of asparagus in the back yard without much success, but we are hoping in a few years we might actually get to eat some of it. For now, I rely on the grocery store for my supply. This recipe came about when I had some roasted red peppers that needed to be used up along with asparagus. I always keep freshly roasted red peppers in the house. I can’t be without them because I cook with them all the time. I never use the store-bought jarred variety, so be aware that this recipe uses peppers you roast yourself. (See my recipe for red pepper cream sauce for instructions.) It is a very simple, tasty way to have asparagus, and a great way to sneak more green into a child’s diet. It also makes a nice dip with pita or a crostini topping. When I buy asparagus I immediately cut a bit of the bottom off and place it in cold water. It stays fresher a little longer.
Angel Hair with Roasted Asparagus and Red Pepper Pesto
1 lb. asparagus or 20 spears, rinsed and patted dry, tough ends removed
1/2 c. roasted red pepper slices
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
7-8 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 basil leaves, torn
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place cleaned asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Toss to coat the spears with the oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes until asparagus is fork tender but not mushy. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Chop asparagus. Place asparagus in food processor bowl along with roasted red peppers, garlic, remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and pepper, and 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Pulse until it is beginning to purée, but still has chunky bits in it. Add 1 more Tbsp. oil and torn basil leaves. Pulse until smooth with red flecks. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Set aside. Cook pasta and drain. Pour pesto over the pasta and toss until pasta is coated. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, then serve. You can top with grated Parmesan if desired. Serves 4.