(Makes 8 servings)
  • 1 pound Ontario asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup walnut pieces or slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon each: finely grated lemon rind and lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups whole wheat or regular penne
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Remove asparagus tips and set aside. Cut stalks into 1-inch pieces to make about 2 1/4 cups. Cook stalks in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.

2. Place asparagus stalks and mint in food processor. With motor running, drop garlic through feed tube and process until chopped. Turn off motor. Add walnuts, lemon rind, lemon juice, salt and pepper; chop coarsely. Add oil and broth; process until blended but nuts are still a bit chunky. (Make ahead: cover and refrigerate overnight. Return to room temperature before using.)

3. Meanwhile, cook penne according to package directions, about 12 minutes, adding asparagus tips for last 2 minutes. Drain well and return to warm saucepan. Add pesto, tossing well. Serve in pasta bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Recipe from Foodland Ontario. For more recipes visit www.foodland.ca

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