Spring asparagus gets quickly cooked and blended up into a bright cheesy pesto and tossed pasta for a vibrant, comforting meal. Burrata is one of my favorite cheeses that I only use for special occasions (or pizza night!). Break it open with your fork for that creamy interior to get a truly magical bite. Don’t forget all of the toppings!
Asparagus! This spring superstar is a great source of potassium, vitamin K, folic acid, vitamin D, fiber, and iron. It also contains a lot more protein than most vegetables, with 3 grams per cup.
Asparagus goes from perfectly cooked to mush real fast. It only really needs a minute or less in water or on the stove. Or try it raw! Thinly slice your seasonal asparagus and add to salads. It pairs really well with parmesan cheese.
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
- 12-16 oz rigatoni or other pasta shape
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 cup raw or toasted walnuts
- 4 oz wedge parmesan, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (+ zest for topping, optional)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 8 oz burrata cheese*
- Fresh basil, for topping
- Flaky salt
- *Burrata tastes best at room temp, so try to remember to take it out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before eating. You can cut whole burrata in half for each person if they are very large.
- *You can find burrata at most grocery stores (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods is where I get it) or, if you can’t find it, just use a dollop of ricotta cheese.
- Fill a large pot with about 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt (we will use it to cook the asparagus and then the pasta). Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes. Use tongs to transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop so it blends more easily. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a high-speed blender.
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup pasta water before draining.
- In the blender, add the oil, garlic, nuts, parmesan, lemon, salt, and pepper. Blend until everything is chopped up. You can add a splash of pasta water if you’re having trouble blending.
- Transfer the pasta back to the pot along with the pesto and about ¼ cup pasta water to start and stir vigorously to combine, adding more pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce.
- Serve pasta topped with burrata, grated parmesan, basil, lemon zest (if using), and pepper. Drizzle your best olive oil over top and sprinkle with flaky salt (or a bit of kosher salt).
Items you can prep ahead (optional)
- Trim 1 lb asparagus
- Smash 2 cloves garlic
- To make gluten-free, use a gluten-free pasta.
- To make vegan, substitute the parmesan in the pesto with 3-4 tablespoons of mellow white miso paste and ¼ cup of nutritional yeast if you have it. Skip the burrata or use a vegan ricotta or soft cheese.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days
Leftovers + Repurposing:
- Warm up leftover pasta in the microwave until warmed through, stirring after every minute, then squeeze some fresh lemon juice all over. Top with all the toppings!