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Linguine with Creamy Asparagus Pesto



Ingredients:
Pasta
1   tsp (5 mL) salt (optional)
12   oz (350 g) uncooked linguini pasta
Pesto
1   lb (450 g) fresh asparagus spears, trimmed (see Cook's Tip)
1/3   cup (75 mL) snipped fresh chives
2   oz (60 g) fresh Parmesan cheese
1   lemon
1/4   cup (50 mL) dry-roasted salted pistachios, shelled
1/4   cup (50 mL) canola oil
1   garlic clove, peeled
1   medium avocado
3/4   tsp (4 mL) each salt and ground black pepper
1/4   tsp (1 mL) sugar
   Additional ground black pepper (optional)
Directions:
  1. For pasta, bring 3 qt. (3 L) water and salt, if desired, to a boil in covered (4-qt./3.8-L) Casserole. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain using medium Stainless Mesh Colander.
  2. Meanwhile, to prepare pesto, place asparagus and enough water to cover in Large Micro-Cooker®. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 7-9 minutes (see Cook's Tip) or until tender; drain and cool 5 minutes.
  3. Snip chives; set aside. Grate cheese with Rotary Grater. Juice lemon to measure 1 tbsp (15 mL).
  4. Slice tips off asparagus spears; set tips aside. Slice asparagus bottoms into 1-in. (2.5-cm) pieces. Process asparagus bottoms, lemon juice, pistachios, oil and garlic in Manual Food Processor until finely chopped. Add half of the cheese, avocado, salt, pepper and sugar; process until smooth.
  5. Using Chef’s Tongs, toss pasta, pesto, chives and asparagus tips in Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl until pasta is thoroughly coated.
  6. Sprinkle pasta with remaining cheese and additional pepper, if desired.

Yield: 6

Nutrients per serving: Calories 420, Total Fat 20 g, Saturated Fat 3.5 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 450 mg, Carbohydrate 50 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 14 g

U.S. Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 1/2 Starch, 2 1/2 Vegetable, 3 1/2 Fat (2 1/2 Carb)

Cook's Tips: To trim asparagus, snap off the bottoms of the spears. The tough stringy ends easily break from the more tender part of the asparagus.

The thickness of asparagus spears can vary greatly. If using very thin spears, start with around 5 minutes in the microwave, then increase as needed to cook through. If using thicker spears, start at the low end of the recommended time and continue cooking as needed.