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Spaghetti with Asparagus Pesto and Walnuts

RECIPE NOTES: you are reserving one cup of the pasta water so don't dump it all out. And you are not blending the asparagus tips; save those to add to the pasta at the very end.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main
Servings: 4
Author: Hip Foodie Mom


  • 8 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; split
  • 1 pound asparagus spears; with the hard ends discarded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • big handful of fresh cilantro
  • heaping 1/4 cup walnuts + more for garnish and topping
  • Zest of one lemon
  • freshly shaved pecorino cheese


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season with salt, then add the spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions to "al dente." Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain and rinse the pasta. Set aside.
  • Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic in a large pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the asparagus pieces (MINUS the tips), salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cover the pan and cook the asparagus for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  • Add the cooked asparagus to your blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Add in the cilantro, walnuts and season with salt and pepper. Blend well until smooth.
  • Add puréed asparagus mixture back to pan, along with the asparagus tips. Mix in the cooked pasta, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest, and a little more pasta water as needed to keep the sauce loose. Heat on low for a minute or two to allow pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Serve immediately, topped with more chopped walnuts and pecorino cheese.