So far for Rodd of Ardross Farm (which is where is our asparagus is grown) it has been a trying one. Fingers crossed we get some consistent sunshine so we can have more of his delicious asparagus. However Rodd also has bags of asparagus spears ranging in size and some tender ends. These bags are such good value and with a little creativity you can make any number of dishes. I always use the ends up in stock (veg stock cube with asparagus ends and water, heated up) which then can be used in soups, risotto or even into your pilaff.


Serves 4-6
500g bunch asparagus spears , trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup pine nuts, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp salt
500g pasta - linguini, fettuccini, spaghetti (Pasta doro)


Bring 2 pots of water to a rolling boil, one large for the pasta and one medium sized for the asparagus.

While the water is heating, put the pine nuts, hazel or sunflower seeds in a single layer in a large fry pan. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove them from the pan and set aside. You will use ¾ cup of the nuts for the pesto paste and 1/4 cup to mix in whole.

Add a little salt to the asparagus water and drop the asparagus into the pan. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cold water to stop the cooking. Cut the tips off, and set aside, and several of the asparagus (diagonal cut about an 2cm from the end) to use for garnish.

Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and ¾ cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the ¼ cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.

Salt the pasta water well and cook the pasta until just tender. Check the directions on the pasta package. You'll need more time for dried pasta and less for fresh. Drain and toss immediately with 1 cup of the asparagus pesto.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining ¼ cup toasted nuts, a dusting of Parmesan, and a light drizzle of olive oil.