This will be the first in a new series of recipes featuring local ingredients, whether it be from a farmer’s market, the co-op, or my garden. My inspiring trip to Portland coincided nicely with the start of summer here, and summer in the Twin Cities means one thing: fresh food!
I am also committed to preserving as much of the harvest as I can this year, and plan to document that as well! If you’re on Twitter, follow #EatingtheTwinCities to share recipes, preserving ideas, and stay up-to-date!
If you’re new to preserving, check out the book Put ‘Em Up: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling. It is chock-full of recipes & ideas!
This pasta is the lovechild of my first run to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market last Saturday. It features local basil & asparagus, and it’s really, really good.
Rotini with Cashew-Basil Pesto, Feta, and Asparagus
For the pasta:
Rotini pasta (enough for 2 servings)
Cashew-Basil Pesto (see below)
3 asparagus spears
4-5 kalamata olives
For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup cashews
4-6 cloves of garlic
1 cup olive oil
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
To make the pesto:
Note: I make my pesto by hand. You can use a food processor if you like, especially if you’re pressed for time. It takes a good 20-30 minutes to make this pesto, but I believe it’s more than worth it.
You’ll want a bigger knife for this. Begin by chopping up the basil, in batches. Some of it will be more finely cut than the rest. Once all of it is somewhat chopped, add half of the cashews and chop for a few minutes. Add the rest of the cashews and half of the cheese, and chop for a few more minutes. Finally, add the rest of the cheese, and chop all until it is to your liking. It will not be as fine as store-bought pesto, but that’s the point.
Put the pesto into a bowl, and pat it into a ball of sorts. Pour the olive oil over it. If you have time, you can let it sit in the fridge overnight so the olive oil slowly absorbs into the mixture. If you don’t have time, mix it all together.
This will make enough pesto to freeze. Spoon pesto into an ice cube tray. It should keep for up to six months in the freezer! Voila! You’ll be enjoying your own pesto in December.
To make the pasta:
Bring water to a boil and cook rotini according to package directions. Drain, and return to pot. Add 2-3 tablespoons of pesto, stir in.
Trim the ends of the asparagus spears and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Sprinkle some water over the top, and microwave for 30 seconds. Cut the asparagus into bite-size pieces.
Chop kalamata olives to your liking, and add to pasta with asparagus. Mix in, and top with feta!
What other ways have you enjoyed asparagus this spring? Share your ideas in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!