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(Originally paired with SCHUG Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc)
1 bunch fresh asparagus
Olive oil, salt and pepper
1 lb. linguine
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup pesto
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ lb. bacon, chopped and cooked until browned and crispy, drained of excess grease
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup fresh basil, chopped (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a sheet pan with a piece of foil. Rinse and pat dry the asparagus, then snap off tough stem ends- the breaking point of the asparagus is where the asparagus becomes tender. Discard tough ends. Place the asparagus onto the foil and brush them with olive oil.* Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
Fill a large pasta pot with water and salt generously. Bring the water to a boil, then add the linguine. Once the linguine begins to cook, put the asparagus into the hot oven. After about 5 minutes of roasting, remove the asparagus from the oven, turn them over and return them to the oven. Roast the asparagus for about another 4 or 5 minutes. They should be tender, and show bright green and browned roasted coloring when they are done. Remove them from the oven and wrap them up in their foil to keep them warm while pasta is finished.
Warm a large serving bowl in the hot oven for a couple minutes. Check the linguine and when it is done (al dente) remove it from the pot and let it drain for a minute. Meanwhile, heat the cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a small saucepan till it is hot- do not let it boil. Place the cooked pasta into the warmed serving bowl and pour the cream mixture over it. Add the pesto and quickly stir and toss all the pasta so it is evenly coated with the sauce.
To serve: Place a few roasted asparagus onto each of 6 serving plates. Top with the hot linguine and sprinkle each with the chopped bacon. Garnish each with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
*Cook’s note: Bacon grease can also be used for roasting the asparagus.