Friday, May 15, 2009

Blender: 1, Peachy: 0 (Asparagus Pesto Pasta)

I'm excited to report that I finally found a way to enjoy asparagus. Those green sticks have always looked so appealing at the supermarket, but despite numerous attempts to cook them, I've never actually found them to be at all delicious.

However! I decided to give them one more try when I saw this Asparagus Pesto from my favorite recipe blog. The thing is, I've never actually liked pesto sauce either, but I think that probably has to do with the copious amounts of basil everyone always uses.* And this pesto recipe has no basil at all, just asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts (plus olive oil and lemon juice, but keep reading and you will see where these tricksy liquids conspired against me).

As I am cheap, and pine nuts plus fresh pasta are super expensive, I used walnuts and an entire 1 lb box of fusilli pasta instead. This approach resulted in a satisfying amount of leftovers, something any lunch-loving person desires in a dinner. And if I wasn't a moron when it came to blenders, this recipe would also have been very quick to make.

As you can see if you actually followed the link above, the original recipe calls for a food processor, but I only had a blender on hand, and figured they were more or less the same thing anyway. Technically, I actually had two blenders on hand: The Pit's smaller Magic Bullet and his roommate's big normal blender.

Having to make everything as complicated as possible, I decided to try the Magic Bullet first. However, instead of putting in all the ingredients at once, I dumped in the cooked asparagus, turned the Magic Bullet on, and watched as the blades twirled uselessly. Deciding that there was something wrong with the device, and not my technique per se, I assembled the big blender, and transferred the now very slightly mushy asparagus to it. Surprise surprise, same exact result. Blades twirl, chunks of asparagus lay right out of reach.

So I scratched my head, and decided maybe the settings were wrong. For the next 10 or 15 minutes, I pushed every combination of buttons on that damn blender, all the while trying to stir the asparagus with a long wooden spoon and swearing copiously. Result: ever so slightly more mushy asparagus, dirty spoon, and little green chunks all over the counter. ** The swearing had no appreciable effects.

It was only then that I sat back and reconsidered my approach. "Blender" I thought. "It should blend--oh." Yes, sadly it was only at this juncture that it occurred to me to use a liquid to assist in the whole blending process. ***

However, once this obstacle of modern engineering was overcome, it only took about 15 more minutes to cook the pasta, finish the pesto, and make a quick chickpea salad.

The result: fairly delicious, although maybe I shouldn't have scrimped on the pine nuts...I think they might have made this go from fairly delicious to super awesome. I'll definitely make this recipe again.

Edit: For those that missed it at the top (ahem Dina), recipe for Asparagus Pesto Pasta is here. Clicky clicky.

* I know I know, I'm very picky.
** If you're keeping track, that now makes 1 unnecessarily dirtied blender, 1 unnecessarily dirtied wooden spoon, and 1 unnecessarily dirtied counter. Someone of the more prissy persuasion could argue that there was also an unnecessarily dirtied mouth involved, but after an afternoon of driving in Virginia, swearing at the blender increased the curse-word per day ratio only slightly.
*** Ph.D!


  1. What about us poor souls who are blender-less? We too have pesto needs.

  2. The grandmas let you live independently without a food processor? This is unlike them. Between the two of them there's probably a couple food processors hidden in various cabinets. I would inquire.

  3. The swearing really does add flavor to any dish or at least releases frustration.

  4. awwwwwww I see the delicious salad and (although I notice that it contains an unhealthy amount of the noxious weeds).... *wistful sigh*... how I miss you.