When Spring time hits, asparagus is one of the first veggies to pop up from the ground.  Although my local farmer’s markets haven’t opened for the season yet, most groceries are featuring asparagus front and center, and many food publications are posting a variety of recipes involving this earthy vegetable that’s packed with nutrients.

I grabbed a bunch from Whole Foods last week and was able to use it for a recipe from Real Simple Magazine from a few months ago. I was saving the recipe to use until asparagus came into season, because unless it’s Spring, it’s just not worth eating it. This is a simple and delicious pasta dish that can be used with any kind of vegetable or nut, but I think the asparagus and pine nuts pair well together.

Linguine with Asparagus and Pine Nuts

12 ounces linguine (3/4 box)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup shaved Parmesan (about 3 ounces)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the asparagus mixture to the pasta along with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the Parmesan before serving.

Photo from Real Simple Magazine

What a simple and delicious meal. It’s almost like a pesto except before it’s blended up. Stalks of asparagus, pine nuts, parmesean cheese, and olive oil, tossed together instead of ground! Very tasty and nutritous!