Recipes: Asparagus with walnut-orange pesto and citronette

Published: Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 2D

Asparagus with walnut-orange pesto and citronette

Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish

Recipe courtesy of "Molto Batali" (Ecco, 2011).

INGREDIENTS

Salt

2 pounds medium asparagus, thick ends snapped off

2 oranges

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

3 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup plus 1/4 cup extra- virgin olive oil

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly ground Pecorino- Romano

Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Set a large ice bath nearby.

When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until just softened, 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath. When it has cooled, drain and set aside.

Make the pesto: Juice one of the oranges, removing any seeds, and set the juice aside for later. Chop what is left of the juiced orange – pith, rind, interior fruit and all – along with the remaining orange (again removing any seeds), and place the chopped orange in the bowl of a food processor. Add the walnuts, garlic, sugar, 1 cup of the olive oil and 1/4 cup of the pecorino to the processor, and blend until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste. If it's too thick, add up to 1/4 cup of the reserved juice to loosen it up.

To make the citronette, place the reserved orange juice and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl and whisk to make an emulsion.

Arrange the cooked asparagus on a serving platter, and spoon the walnut-orange pesto over the stems. Drizzle the orange citronette over all. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons pecorino, and serve.

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