Adore your favourite pasta (store-bought or homemade) with this delicate pesto of green asparagus and roasted pistachios.

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I love creating my own pesto recipes using traditional ingredients, such as basil, arugula, and sun-dried tomatoes, and switching it up from time to time with different nuts and oils, but I would have never thought of making pesto using green asparagus and pistachios, hadn’t I come across Ale’s recipe over at A Queen in the Kitchen.

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This recipe is very easy to prepare and is nothing short of spectacular! The sauce is creamy and light and goes well with any type of pasta (I’m looking forward to making this again and serving it with homemade potato gnocchi). The pistachio’s subtle nuttiness pleasantly compliments the green asparagus.

Since young asparagus is called for in the recipe, there is no need to peel them. Simply trim the dried ends, drop them into a large deep skillet, fill with enough water to cover them, and most importantly, season generously with salt. Cover the skillet and bring to a boil.

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In the meantime, shell the pistachios, if they aren’t already shelled. It might take a bit longer but it will be worth it in the end. The only pistachios I was able to find were salted roasted ones. I just seasoned the pesto lightly with salt in the end.

The asparagus should be tender after 5 minutes of cooking. They should still hold their shape and have a vibrant green colour.

Thoroughly strain the asparagus and roughly chop into smaller pieces. Transfer to a medium or large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients (garlic, oil, cheese, and pistachios) and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have one, then puree all the ingredients either in your blender or food processor. Taste the pesto and adjust with salt and pepper.

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The pesto will be thick, which makes a great spread for sandwiches, but can be diluted with a ladle of pasta water, when tossing it with pasta. I like to add extra sauce on top and garnish generously with grated cheese, roughly chopped pistachios, and coarsely ground black pepper. The only thing I can say about this dish is that it is simply sheer perfection!

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I have been following Ale Gambini ever since discovering her homemade Pavesini recipe for my tiramisu. Head over to her blog for more authentic Italian recipes, and check out her videos on Youtube and Vimeo. She has also written a cookbook, which includes recipes from her beloved nonna Fernanda (I have the ebook on my Kindle and totally love it!).

Ale, thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, as well as your enthusiasim and your passion for authentic Italian cooking!

And to my readers, thank you for reading and buon appetito!!!

(Printable Recipe)

Adore your favourite pasta (store-bought or homemade) with this delicate pesto of green asparagus and roasted pistachios.


  • 1 lb (450-500 g) Spaghetti
  • 1 bunch (250 g) young green asparagus
  • 1/4 cup (90 g) shelled pistachios, roughly chopped (I used salted roasted pistachios)
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil (you could add more, if you wish)
  • a ladle of pasta water for a thinner pesto (optional)


1. Wash and trim the green asparagus and place in a large skillet. Cover with water and season generously with salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

2. Roughly chop the asparagus and add them into a medium-sized bowl. Add the pistachios, garlic, Parmesan, and extra virgin olive oil. Puree with a hand mixer until smooth. If you don’t have a hand mixer, than add the ingredients into your blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Taste the pesto and adjust with salt and pepper.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain well, reserving about ladle of pasta pasta water (1/2 to 1 cup of liquid)

4. Toss the pasta with half (about 1 cup) of pesto with spaghetti. Add reserved pasta water, and/or more pesto, if you wish. Divide onto plates and garnish with leftover pesto and grated Parmesan cheese. For texture, top with roughly chopped pistachios.

5. This dish tastes delicious warm or at room temperature.


Adapted from A Queen in the Kitchen

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  1. Asparagus and pistachio pesto sounds absolutely incredible!! I also happened to notice you’re following my old blog, which I no longer post to. If you’d like to check out my new one, here’s the link:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful recipe, I have never tried to make pesto with asparagus, but I am sure I would like it. I make a mint and pistachio pesto though, every summer, which we all love. I love the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

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