If you haven't noticed, I really like asparagus. I also can't wait for the abundance of spring vegetables at the farmer's market that will hopefully show up in the next few weeks (I picked up some leeks this weekend, so we're getting there!) I am also a really big fan of pesto and will happily make it with anything green I might have lying around. For this light pasta, I combined my two loves into one springy dish, hoping for more of those 70 degree days we had last week. If you haven't made pasta by hand, I might recommend watching a tutorial, many of which can be found on youtube. I'll try to be detailed in my instructions, but since I learned from an Italian woman who taught more by sight than written instructions, I can't promise that these are the best. Tagliatelle with Asparagus Pesto
For the pasta:
2 cups flour, divided
For the pesto:
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta: With one cup of the flour, make a small well on a very clean countertop or cutting board. Crack the egg inside of the well, then slowly begin to mix the flour into the egg with a fork. Gradually integrate it until they form a sort of paste, then use your hand to slowly mix in the rest of the flour. Knead until the dough becomes an elastic ball, wetting hands with water as needed, about 10-15 minutes. Cover with a cloth and let rest half an hour. Repeat with other egg and flour and let rest.
Roll out pasta in pasta machine according to manufacturer's instructions. It shouldn't be on the thinnest setting, but you should be able to see through it. Once you have cut the pasta sheets, hang on a drying rack or the back of a chair until dry but not brittle, about half an hour. Store at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use.
For pesto: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil asparagus until just tender and bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until still slightly chunky, 1-2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, 1-2 minutes. Mix with pesto and a dash of olive oil. Serve immediately, garnishing with additional parmesan cheese if desired. White wine optional. tagliatelle