Cavatappi with Asparagus and Spinach Pesto

Pesto doesn’t have to be made only with herbs. Greens, such as baby kale or arugula, also work great. I like to combine them with one or two fresh herbs for a bright and balanced flavor. I also like to use different nuts in my pesto, sometimes pine nuts, sometimes almonds, sometimes walnuts; here I use pistachios.

Active Time: 25 minutes 
Total Time: 25 minutes


Kosher salt
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled 1
/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cavatappi
1 bunch medium-thickness asparagus, tough stems trimmed, bottoms peeled, stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Put the spinach, parsley, pistachios, and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Pro- cess to make a chunky paste. Add the olive oil with the machine running to make a smooth pesto. Transfer to a serving bowl. Season with 1/2 tea- spoon salt and several grinds of black pepper.

Add the cavatappi to the boiling water and cook until al dente; add the asparagus in the last 4 minutes. Remove pasta and asparagus with a spi- der to the serving bowl. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding up to 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water if it seems dry, and serve.

Recipe from "Lidia’s a Pot, a Pan, and a Bowl"

Serves 6