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Mint and Pine Nut Pesto with Gemelli and Asparagus

Servings: four to six.

The combination of mint, scallions, and asparagus makes this dish perfect for spring. You could also spread this pesto on top of chicken breasts or a firm-fleshed fish (anything from cod to salmon would work) and roast, or use it as a spread on sandwiches or crostini.

This recipe is excerpted from Big Buy Cooking.


For the pesto

  • 6 scallions (dark and light green parts only), trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed fresh mint, chopped
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 lb. gemelli
  • 3/4 lb. asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Make the pesto

  • Put the scallions, Parmigiano, pine nuts, and mint in a food processor and process until finely chopped. With the processor on, pour the oil down the feed tube in a steady stream, so the mixture thins into a slightly loose paste. Add more oil if needed. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper and pulse once more.

Make the pasta

  • Bring a large (6-quart) pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender, about 2 minutes less than the package timing. Add the asparagus and cook with the pasta until both are tender, about 2 minutes more. Drain well and toss with the pesto and lemon juice. Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with black pepper and the Parmigiano.

Make Ahead Tips

The pesto will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • Annakatherine | 04/01/2012

    quick and easy. nice and light

  • mmeckstr | 11/30/2010

    I really wasn't sure what to expect with this (mint + green onion pesto?) but it was actually really good! Even my husband who does not like mint in his food, loved the dish. It's a nice change from the typical basil flavored pesto.

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