By David Cohen
Spring, the season for all things asparagus. And with crispy tips and shallots, what could be bad about this pesto. Cut approximately 2 inches from the tip ends of 1 pound of asparagus and toss with some olive oil and salt to coat along with a large thinly sliced shallots. Spread them out on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and roast at 400 degrees until lightly browned and crispy. Set aside.
Remove and discard the coarse white ends from the base of the asparagus spears and then blanch in a large pot of simmering salted water for five minutes. Scoop them out of the pot with a slotted spoon, run them under cold water in a strainer and drain.
Bring the same pot of water back to a boil and drop in your pasta. While that’s cooking, cut the blanched asparagus spears in half and add to a food processor along with a clove or two of garlic, a bit of lemon zest, a quarter teaspoon of salt and a large handful of pine nuts. While running, slowly drizzle in approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil until you get a smooth mixture.
Next, add between 1/2 and 1 cup of grated parmesan as well as the juice from half a lemon. Pulse quickly, salt and pepper to taste and pulse again. Use some of the pasta water if it’s too thick for your liking, more cheese if it’s too thin. Toss with the pasta and then serve with the crispy tips and shallots on top along with some grated parmesan.