Green Olive Pesto Pasta with Asparagus
|Prep Time: 10 min||Cook Time: 20 min|
|Servings: 4||Skill Level: easy|
Olives make this pesto extra creamy for a vegan main dish that really satisfies.
- 2 cups basil, lightly packed
- ¾ cup Pearls Simply Olives Green Ripe Pitted Olives, drained
- 1/3 cup raw pine nuts
- 2-3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed (to your taste)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pasta and asparagus
- 12 ounces penne or other dry pasta
- 2 bunches asparagus (1½ – 2 pounds, 6 cups prepped)
- ¼ cup non-dairy creamer (or heavy cream if not vegan), more as needed
- ¾ cup Pearls Simply Olives Green Ripe Pitted Olives, drained and halved
- For serving: chili flakes and basil leaves
- Blanch and shock the basil, if desired. This keeps the pesto bright green for up to a week in the refrigerator. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath in a medium bowl. Add the basil to the boiling water and cook until bright green, 15 seconds. Immediately remove basil with a slotted spoon and add to the ice water bath until cool. Squeeze excess water out of the basil and place the basil in a blender or food processor.
- In the body of a blender or food processor, combine the blanched basil, ¾ cup olives, pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Blend or process until coarsely combined.
- Blend in the olive oil to form a thick sauce. Taste, adding more salt or garlic if you feel the dish needs it. Store, refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Makes about 1½ cups.
- Meanwhile, add salt to the water used to blanch the basil, or if you did not blanch the basil, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
- Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus and cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths. Drop the asparagus in the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender and bright green, 1-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the asparagus and set aside.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring, until al dente per the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
- Return the pasta to the pan and add the asparagus, pesto, halved olives, a splash of pasta water, and enough cream to loosen the sauce. Cook over low heat until warmed through and creamy, adding a splash of pasta water if the pan looks dry. Taste, adding more salt, if needed.
- Spoon into bowls and top with your toppings of choice, if using.