How to turn asparagus into a bowl of pasta that sings of spring

 
By Joe Yonan
The Washington Post
Updated 4/26/2017 6:29 AM
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  • A simple dish of penne with asparagus pesto and white beans welcomes in spring.

    A simple dish of penne with asparagus pesto and white beans welcomes in spring. Deb Lindsey/The Washington Post

Spring is a glorious time for seasonal cooks, especially us plant-based ones, because, well, it's obvious, isn't it? Out with the turnips, in with the asparagus! And more.

Early in asparagus season, I find it hard to resist simply steaming, blanching or even broiling them, and eating them with a simple sauce. But soon enough, I'll be looking for other ideas, which is where this pasta recipe comes in. It's from Alice Hart's new book, "Good Veg" (The Experiment, 2017), and it's a keeper.

Hart has you blanch asparagus stalks for a pesto -- but not before saving the more delicate tips and quickly sauteing them. The pesto combines with whole-wheat pasta; you fold in some white beans for extra texture and protein, and serve the dish with those asparagus tips on top.

It's another fine way to welcome asparagus back to the table, all spring long.

• Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook."

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