Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rigatoni with Asparagus-Pistachio Pesto

The below recipe for rigatoni with asparagus-pistachio pesto is another winner from Andrew Zimmern's food blog. He created the recipe while working at a French restaurant in Minneapolis years ago and apparently it helped win over his wife. It's easy to see why. This pasta dish was absolutely delicious. Brady did most the work so I can't talk about the labor that went into it but I can say that the pasta has tons of flavor. This recipe makes a lot so be prepared for leftovers, we were eating off it for a couple days. Probably not the best decision a few days before my final wedding dress fitting but luckily it still zipped!

Rigatoni with Asparagus-Pistachio Pesto
** adapted from Andrew Zimmern's blog

Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6-8

1/4 c. pine nuts
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 c. basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. honey
2 tsp. thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pound whole wheat rigatoni
1/4 pound sliced bacon
1 c. chicken stock
2 T. butter
1/4 c. pistachios, finely chopped
1/3 c. parsley, chopped
freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400. Toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a food processor, combine the asparagus, carrots and shallots and process until chopped. Put the mixture in a baking dish, stir in the basil, garlic, honey, thyme, lemon zest, cumin and 1/4 cup olive oil. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring once, until the vegetables are soft and starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Set the pasta aside and toss with just a little olive oil to coat.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and then chop.

In a large skillet or pot, combine the cooked vegetables with the stock and butter and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the pasta, pine nuts, pistachios, and the reserved pasta water. Cook until the sauce is thick and the pasta is coated. Stir in the parsley and chopped bacon. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with grated cheese.

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