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Linguine with Roasted Asparagus and Almond Pesto

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Serves four to six.

  • by Allison Fishman from Fine Cooking
    Issue 104

Swap almonds for the usual pine nuts in this twist on classic pesto, and turn it into a one-dish meal with a few bright vegetables. This pesto recipe doubles easily; keep any extra in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It's delicious on crostini for a quick bite, or served with roast chicken or salmon.

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 lb. dried linguine
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on one half of a large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the tomatoes on the other half of the sheet. Drizzle both with 1 Tbs. of the oil, season with 1/4 tsp. salt, and toss to coat. Roast on the top rack until the tomatoes have collapsed and the asparagus are bright green, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, put the almonds on another rimmed baking sheet and toast on the bottom rack, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

Reserve 1 heaping Tbs. of the almonds for garnish and put the remaining almonds in a food processor. Remove the tips from the asparagus and set aside. Roughly chop the remaining asparagus and add to the food processor along with the basil, cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Pulse until a coarse paste forms, about 10 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat. If necessary, add some or all of the reserved cooking water to loosen the pesto to a saucy consistency. Garnish with the tomatoes, asparagus tips, and reserved almonds, and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Add some extra protein to the meal with Hummus, served with fresh vegetables for dipping.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 430; Fat (g): 15; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 14; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): 61; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 390; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was absolutely delicious. However, beware of the cooking times at 425 degrees. The tray of almonds on the bottom rack will burn to a crisp if you leave it for the prescribed 10 minutes. 2 minutes will be plenty. Same goes for the asparagus 7 tomatoes. 10 minutes at that temperature will be fine.

Delicious! Prep work not bad at all. Easy. I had never made my own pesto before. Pesto, presto! Make sure you save some of the pasta cooking water to "loosen the pesto to a saucy consistency"...The toasted almonds give a nice crunch and taste. The grape tomatoes burst as they roast and taste so good. Blending the asparagus with the basil, almonds and cheese rounds out the flavor. I will return to this recipe.

I would give this recipe 10 stars if I could, 20 even... It's the best pasta recipe I've ever made and I make it any time I have pasta cravings. I like to add broccolini and/or shrimp cooked in garlic to make it a full meal, but this dish is incredible without them. I served this meal with a large group of friends and everyone was quiet because they could not stop eating it and serving themselves seconds. A true hit... Fine Cooking, you win again!

A lovely dish to make in the spring with fresh asparagus from the garden.

This was a big hit. The roasted tomatoes and asparagus make the dish really special. I used a high quality basil/garlic linguine. Using the asparagus stems in the pesto is a great idea. You will definitely need the pasta water and I used more than the recipe called for.

Wow, is this good, fresh-tasting and simple! Using the asparagus and fresh basil from the garden really gave the dish a lot of hearty flavor. I will certainly be making this dish again! While I'm in love with garlic, not having to saute anything on the stove with this dish (vegetables are roasted in the oven) was an interesting and welcome departure for me. We ended up nearly doubling the asparagus, almonds, and basil and it was wonderful! The extra pasta water came in handy, too. Delicious.

Very good but I'd prefer it with a bit more spice. Perhaps some garlic in the pesto and a little cayenne pepper. Plus - double the asparagus and add the extra as peices with the pasta. I'm definitely going to make it again (with these tweaks)

A really delicious take on pesto. Follow previous reviews and save extra pasta water as the pesto is very thick. I will definitely make this again.

This is a really tasty recipe - definitely less assertive than regular pesto (which I liked), with a nutty flavor from the almonds and a great hit of acid from the tomatoes. I totally forgot about adding the extra olive oil to the pesto, and it still turned out really delicious! (Just ended up adding more pasta water to make the sauce loose enough.)

Yummy--and so easy. The tomatoes' sweetness balances the saltiness of the pasta. The almonds add crunch, and the olive oil makes it rich. Maybe because I roasted them in a thin, dark pan and they were dry from months in the freezer, my almonds burnt to a crisp in 5 min. (Luckily, I had more on hand.) I think next time I'll use half as much pasta, for a larger proportion of vegetables. And I'll make sure my asparagus spears are more or less of equal diameter, about medium size, so they'll be done at the same time.

This was surprisingly good. It is very simple to make, yet the results are delicious. We made less pasta and the same amount of sauce. I may cook the tomatoes just a little less next time. This is a winner.

I prepared this dish for my "Healthy Eating Club" clients a few weeks ago, and everyone loved it (including my teenage son who snitched a little). I was a little concerned about the amount of fat in the recipe, but as they are the "good" fats, I followed the recipe as written. A great way to get the benefits of almonds into the diet. And very clever to use the bottoms of the roasted asparagus for the pesto. One tip: save more of the pasta water than recommended - the pesto is fairly pasty, and the pasta will absorb more liquid as it sits. This will definitely be on my menu again in the near future!

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