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Asparagus 'Pesto'

LNG212 May 30, 2010 05:33 PM

Mark Bittman's column in the NY Times (last week?) gave a recipe for asparagus 'pesto'. I made it tonight for a light dinner (over pasta) using the bunch of asparagus I got at Friday's greenmarket. It was absolutely lovely! If you love asparagus and your garden or farmer's market is abundant but you are running out of things to do with it, definitely give this recipe a try.


I tweaked a little bit -- less cheese and more lemon. The recipe is just asking for personalization! I love recipes like that.

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  1. k
    karykat RE: LNG212 May 30, 2010 06:24 PM

    We tried this too after the recipe came out and just loved it. We're having it tomorrow on pasta as a side dish for with steak.

    We also thought that it would make a good dip at room temp.


    2 Replies
    1. re: karykat
      LNG212 RE: karykat May 30, 2010 06:43 PM

      I too thought it would make a good dip/spread, maybe on crostini.

      Was also wondering how it would be as a cold pasta salad. Anyone try that?

      1. re: LNG212
        karykat RE: LNG212 May 30, 2010 07:36 PM

        We haven't tried that but had thought of it as well. I think it wouldn't be good cold cold but seems like it would be at room temp.

        It's on our menu for tomorrow night, so maybe I'll try to hide a little of it away to try on Tuesday.

    2. bushwickgirl RE: LNG212 May 30, 2010 06:27 PM

      I saw that as well and it sounded great. SmittenKitchen has a recipe at her blog for a shaved asparagus pizza (white pizza) that sounds quite interesting also.

      5 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl
        LNG212 RE: bushwickgirl May 30, 2010 06:43 PM

        Oh thanks for the info about the asparagus pizza. We like doing pizza at home so that's definitely something I'll search out.

        1. re: LNG212
          bushwickgirl RE: LNG212 May 30, 2010 06:48 PM

          Here's the pizza link:


          I think it would make a great crostini topping, as you suggested.

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            LNG212 RE: bushwickgirl Jun 17, 2010 06:01 PM

            Bushwickgirl -- thanks again for the connection to the asparagus pizza. Finally got to it tonight. Both DH and I really liked it. I took her "tweaks" to heart and added a bit of lemon juice (very nice addition) and a pinch of red pepper flakes (good but should have used more).

            I'm trying to attache photos of the result. Thanks again.

            1. re: LNG212
              bushwickgirl RE: LNG212 Jun 18, 2010 04:47 AM

              Wow, that looks delicious, nice crust, good color, bravo! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

              1. re: LNG212
                cajundave RE: LNG212 Jun 25, 2010 02:43 PM

                What a great looking pizza! Good idea too.

        2. d
          dancingmonkey RE: LNG212 Jun 25, 2010 06:34 AM

          I think asparagus season is over for our area, but I wonder how this would work with frozen varieties.

          I'm also curious what other people have also used as pesto bases. I've made cilantro pesto with success, and I've seen recipes that relied on spinach or arugula or even peas and mint. http://www.seattlepi.com/food/370877_...

          3 Replies
          1. re: dancingmonkey
            LNG212 RE: dancingmonkey Jun 25, 2010 07:18 AM

            Yes, asparagus season has ended here too. But that pesto was really lovely, as was the shaved asparagus pizza (see above).

            I've made pesto with spinach or arugula. That's good. So is garlic scape pesto, though it's quite strong.

            1. re: LNG212
              G3B RE: LNG212 Jun 25, 2010 08:04 AM

              Do you have a recipe for garlic scape pesto, sounds interesting and I have some garlic I want to finish up. Thanks.

              1. re: G3B
                LNG212 RE: G3B Jun 25, 2010 09:07 AM

                I don't really have a recipe, exactly. I pretty much do it the way I would regular basil pesto -- scapes and olive oil to start and then I add some nuts (usually pine nuts but I've also used walnuts if I'm out) and I like to add a bit of lemon juice too. I've added in some herbs (though sometimes I don't) like basil or parsley. But I'd be careful of using too much parsley and nothing else or it can get a bit of a bitter taste. Most importantly, I taste as I go along. Oh, and sometimes I add parm, though not always. It does help moderate the garlic flavor of the scapes.

                Sorry if that's not really helpful. I think there is currently another thread here on Home Cooking that is specifically about Scape Pesto -- perhaps that one has better guidance than I've given.

          2. r
            rockycat RE: LNG212 Jun 25, 2010 08:29 AM

            Our season is also over, but we made the asparagus pesto while the market was just about giving the asparagus away. Over pasta - great! Over grilled chicken - great! As a base for pizza with smoked salmon - great! Very happy with this recipe.

            I've also made pesto using just fresh mint (no basil or parsley) and either pecans or walnuts. Very, very nice with grilled lamb or salmon.

            1. p
              PAO RE: LNG212 Jun 25, 2010 02:48 PM

              Michael Chiarello has an amazing asparagus/basil pesto which he serves with pasta and potatoes. One of our favorites. http://www.napastyle.com/recipe/recip...

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