Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Summary: This pasta is crunchy, tangy, hearty, and healthy. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner plus it reheats wonderfully. Asparagus has been shown to be packed with vitamins and minerals (plus it’s considered an anti-inflammatory food). Wheat germ is a great source of vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant) and folic acid. I use this as a healthy topping option; it makes food look more attractive and delectable without packing the extra calories and fat. So enjoy!

Serving Size: 4

Ingredients:

10 stems fresh asparagus
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
lemon rind, from half a lemon
lemon juice, from half a lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup fresh parmesan , shredded
1/4 cup wheat germ, optional
1/4 cup sliced almonds, optional
1  box whole wheat penne pasta

Directions:

1. To prep the asparagus: wash them and cut off about 2 inches from the top. Save for later. Next you can chop the asparagus however you like: as circular pieces or longitudinal. I prefer to chop them longitudinally because it looks more elegant plus if you cut them thinly they will cook faster. For the longitudinal version: cut in half along the length of the asparagus stem. Place the flat side to the cutting board, now chop 3-4 times more (depending on how thin you want your asparagus strips). Repeat until you’ve chopped all. (This is the hardest step, but I promise it will be worth it).

2. Bring water to a boil. Season with salt and some olive oil. Add the pasta when the water is ready. Cook according to package directions. Drain and set pasta aside.

3. Chop the basil and the garlic.

4. To cook the asparagus add all the olive oil and wine to a non stick pan. Turn on to medium heat. Let cook for about 10 min. covered. Add the garlic, lemon juice and lemon rind. Mix.

5. ASSEMBLE: add the pasta to the asparagus mixture. Add the parmesan slowly, mixing in between. Add the chopped basil. Stir.

6. GARNISH with wheat germ and sliced almonds. (I prefer to add a bit to each plate).

NOTE: this sauce is very subtle and light. If desired adjust by adding more olive oil once you’ve added the pasta and parmesan.

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