Why wait to make pesto when the basil is abundant. You can put to work those long-awaited bundles of asparagus. You can pesto just about anything using a basic recipe as a guide and substituting similar ingredients. Here in the Northwest, I like to substitute hazelnuts for pine nuts to give dishes a more local flavor. Mint makes this pesto even more bright and springy.
Asparagus Hazelnut Mint Pesto Recipe
1 bundle of asparagus (trimmed* and chopped into 2-inch chunks)
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (remember, the Parmesan is salty)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6-8 fresh mint leaves (or more to taste)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1. Steam or boil asparagus until tender but not mushy. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking.
2. Add all ingredients except cheese and lemon juice to a food processor and process till smooth.
3. Add cheese and lemon juice and pulse just till combined.
Serve on bread, toss with pasta, spread on a sandwich. Enjoy!
* To trim asparagus, hold each end of a stalk and bend until it snaps. It will snap naturally where the tough end meets the tender part.