Sunday, November 12, 2006

Penne with Blue Cheese Pesto, Walnuts and Asparagus

From The Dinner Doctor

Salt, for cooking the pasta
8oz penne
1 C walnut pieces
1 jar (3.5oz) pesto (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 C pre-crumbled blue cheese, or to taste
1/2 pound thin asparagus spears

Preheat oven to 350.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, if using, and stir in the penne. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the penne, uncovered, until al dente, 6-7 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them until lightly toasted, 4-5 minutes.
Place the pesto and blue cheese in a large serving bowl and, using a fork, mash the blue cheese into the pesto.
Rinse the asparagus spears and snap off and discard their tough ends. Break the spears into 1 1/2" long pieces.
During the last 3 minutes of the penne cooking time, add the asparagus to the pot and cook until they turn bright green and are crisp-tender. Drain the penne and asparagus well in a colander, shaking it a few times to remove any water that might still cling to the pasta. Add the penne and asparagus to the bowl with the pesto and stir to coat them well. Top with the toasted walnuts and serve at once.

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