In the spring, it seems that my husband and I can’t get enough asparagus (the kids eat it because it’s there and they have to). Whether in a fritatta or simply oven roasted, we eat as much as possible until the 6 to 8 week season ends.
I recently read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of Food Life. In it, she chronicles a year during which her family only consumed food that they produced on their farm. If they couldn’t grow or make it, they would purchase it from local farmers whenever possible. In one of the first chapters of her book, she talks about asparagus: how it’s grown, where it grows-basically, everything you ever wanted to know about asparagus, including fun facts like it can grow up to 10 inches in a 24 hour period!
If you were expecting me to say I made this ravioli from scratch, let me refer you to my bio…I do things simply whenever possible. I love fresh pasta made in house at restaurants and, some day, I will purchase an attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer to make pasta from scratch. In the meantime, Trader Joe’s makes a delicious mini cheese filled ravioli that is perfect by itself, or tossed in a pot of soup; however, any pasta will work here.
ravioli with spinach hazelnut pesto and grilled asparagus
One bunch asparagus and one pound mini cheese filled ravioli (or any pasta)
make the pesto:
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in food processor. Pulse until smooth, adding more olive oil one teaspoon at a time if mixture is too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
With a sharp knife, cut tough ends off one bunch of asparagus. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Toss to coat.
Heat grill to medium heat. If you don’t have fine grates on your grill, you must use a mesh grill pan or grill topper or your asparagus will fall between the grates (I use the pan that I generally use for grilling fish). Place the asparagus on your heated grill top or pan, turning often to prevent burning.
In the meantime, cook your pasta according to package directions. I have a side burner on my grill and this coordinated beautifully with grilling the asparagus. As I’ve explained previously, my husband doesn’t grill so if I’m overseeing the grill and cooking on the stove top in the house, something is bound to burn!
Remove the asparagus with it is slightly tender and has some golden grill marks. Be careful not to overcook it.
Plate your grilled asparagus, pasta, and pesto.