WOW what an accident! I am always looking for new and different recipes for anything - fish,chicken, pasta, rice, vegetables, potatoes, sandwiches, you name it. Sometimes recipes come from a piece of this recipe and a piece of that that recipe. Sometime they are born from the ingredients in my fridge that day and sometimes they are created from a mistake I made in the kitchen. At this point you can probably guess how accidental pesto came about.
I set out to make oven roasted asparagus to put over pasta. I chop up my asparagus and onion, season it and into the oven it goes. Well much to my dismay 20 minutes later my asparagus was not getting crisp it frankly was not doing much of anything but lying there among the onion. So I taste it - just OK and a bit flat - what went wrong? I over crowded the pan and I cut the asparagus too small so they steamed instead of roasted. The onion caramelized nicely - not what I intended either. I have some slightly soggy asparagus and brown caramel colored onions so now what??? Not the dish I was hoping for but in reality it was. I go to the pantry and I search the contents. Diced tomatoes - no good, extra virgin olive oil - maybe, chicken stock - nope not a good match, walnuts - well now we might have something. I grab the walnuts and head two steps back to the kitchen to create something amazing.
I toss the walnuts into the food processor, I add the asparagus to the walnuts and I whir it up. A beautiful pesto is well on its way. I taste it and I am wowed by the flavors. I add some salt and pepper and a tad of extra virgin olive oil . Taste again decide a little goat cheese will take this pesto to the next level and Viola!
I know I did not create something new in the culinary world but with a few simple ingredients and a simple concept a beautiful and delicious dish now finds a new home in my recipe box and in yours! ENJOY...
Accidental Asparagus Pesto
1 Bunch Asparagus (cut into small bite size pieces)
1 Large Onion (diced)
1 Teaspoon Hot Pepper Flakes
1 Cup Walnuts
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 oz. Smooth Goat Cheese
Pasta (your choice; I prefer Penne)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spread asparagus and onion evenly on a baking sheet
Season with salt/pepper and red pepper flakes
Coat with olive oil and toss well
Place in oven to cook 30 minutes till asparagus is very soft
Cool for 15 minutes
In two batches place 1/2 walnuts and 1/2 asparagus/onion mixture in
Food processor and blend till smooth
Transfer to a bowl and repeat
Once second batch is blended add 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil and
Goat cheese to mixture and blend again till Incorporated
Add this mixture to the previous blended mixture in the bowl and
Stir well to incorporate
Cook pasta according to directions
Drain pasta well and spoon desired amount of pesto onto pasta and
Toss till coated evenly
Store unused pesto, covered in the fridge for 2 days or freeze for 6 months
Take II - Left over pesto is a nice addition to grilled fish or chicken