This purée is great to have on hand. It makes an excellent sauce for broiled fish or for pasta or ravioli, or a poached egg on an English muffin. With added cream and seasoning, it’s also perfect as a warm soup. It is not thick, but loose and light. To make this pesto more robust, add ⅓ cup pine nuts to the food processor. Save the asparagus cooking water and ends or peels for Asparagus Stock.
By / Photography By Eugenia Bone | March 15, 2015


1. Cut the asparagus in large pieces and place them in a large pot. Add just enough water to barely cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and boil the asparagus gently until they are fork-tender, about 10 minutes for slender asparagus, longer for thick ones. Reserving the cooking water, drain the asparagus.

3. Place the asparagus in a food processor along with ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water and the garlic. Add the pine nuts, if using, the oil, lemon juice and salt to taste and pulse to combine. If necessary, add a bit more cooking water to get a smooth pesto.

NOTE: The asparagus pesto holds in the freezer for 8 to 12 months. Add salt and pepper as you use the pesto (seasoning loses its oomph when frozen).

About this recipe

All recipes are from The Kitchen Ecosystem by Eugenia Bone (Clarkson Potter, 2014).

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  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed (as described on next page)
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
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