PRODUCTION

Bucatini with Hazelnut Mint Pesto, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Hazelnut Pesto PastaConsider making a double batch of the hazelnut mint pesto to freeze and use with fish, mixed into potato salad, and anywhere else you like pesto.

Yield: Serves 4

For the Pesto:

  • 2 cups mint leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
  • ½ cup Oregon Orchard roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 Tablespoons roasted hazelnut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place the mint, hazelnuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and roasted hazelnut oil into a food processor and pulse until the mint is finely chopped and the hazelnuts are coarsely ground. With the machine on low, drizzle in the olive oil, stopping to scrape the sides of the container as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to four months. A little olive oil poured on top of the pesto will help to preserve the color.

For the Pasta:

  • 1 bunch asparagus (around 12 ounces), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces bucatini
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup Oregon Orchard roasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons roughly chopped or torn mint
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, optional, to shave on top of the pasta
  • Red chili flakes, optional
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook until bright green and just barely cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a strainer to transfer the asparagus to the ice bath and let cool completely before draining.

Add the bucatini to the same pot of boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente, about 3 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving ⅓ cup of the water.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons of the pasta water, the pasta and the asparagus and use tongs to toss to combine. Stir in the pesto and continue to cook, folding the ingredients together until the pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Add more pasta water if the pasta needs more moisture. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide among serving bowls and garnish with the hazelnuts and mint and the cheese and chili flakes if you are using.