I created this recipe for Better Homes & Gardens, showing home cooks across America how versatile fresh asparagus is - especially in spring time when it is extra plentiful. People have made this dish for bridal showers, Easter brunches, Mother's Day. Truth be told, I just make a batch and graze on it for a few days. I love the freshness of it...and the brightness of the asparagus pea pesto. Use an extra sharp vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons. Place the asparagus spears over an inverted stainless steel bowl to make it easier. BONUS: The asparagus-pea pesto is delicious tossed with pasta, so make a double batch for dinner. The pesto keeps in an air-tight container for up to 1 week - drizzle extra olive oil on top to fully cover before closing the lid to keep the vibrant green color.
- 1½ bunches asparagus (12 oz.), washed and trimmed
- 1½ cups fresh or frozen peas
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups arugula
Cut half of one bunch of asparagus into 1-inch pieces (it should be about ¾ cup).
In a medium saucepan bring about 5 cups water to boiling. Add the asparagus pieces. Cook 2-3 minutes or until bright green and crisp-tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water until they are fully cold; drain. Repeat with fresh peas. (For frozen peas, skip the cooking part; just rinse under water to thaw.)
To make the asparagus-pea pesto
In a food processor, combine the asparagus pieces, 1 cup of peas, garlic and vinegar. Cover and pulse several times to chop. Scrape the sides down with a rubber scraper. Pulse again until the mixture forms a paste. With the machine running, slowly pour in olive oil. Add the Parmesan; pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel the remaining asparagus to create thin ribbons. Slice any remaining pieces.
In a large bowl, combine the asparagus ribbons, arugula and remaining ½ cup of peas. Add ½ cup of the pesto; toss to coat.