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Pesto Pasta with Asparagus + Bacon

Make bright green Pesto Pasta with snappy asparagus and smoky bacon for a perfect springtime pasta dinner.
Course Main Course
Keyword asparagus, bacon, creamy, pasta, pesto, recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 oz.) package rigatoni pasta (You can substitute w/ your own fave pasta!)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt + black pepper, to taste
  • handful asparagus, ends trimmed + chopped in halves
  • 2 cups chopped cooked candied bacon (See Notes!)

Pesto Sauce:

  • 1 cup organic spinach (You can sub w/ kale or arugula)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp juice of a lemon
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt + black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

Instructions

Roasted Veggies:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Add the asparagus unto the baking sheet (in a single layer) and drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt, black pepper and bake for 7-10 minutes or until asparagus has reduced in size and browned at the edges. Remove and set aside.
  • In the meantime, cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: rigatoni pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 8-10 minutes (however, you should cook at 6-8 minutes or so—‘al dente’).

Pesto Sauce:

  • Add all ingredients into a food processor and process until well blended and broken down. NOTE: If needed, add a bit of water (1 Tbsp), if too thick.
  • In a large bowl, add together the cooked pasta and pesto sauce, tossing it all together until pasta is fully coated.
  • To serve, add the pasta into your prepared plates or bowls, top with roasted asparagus and cooked bacon. Add grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
  • Bon Appetit!

Notes

STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
PASTA: You can use long pastas like Pappardelle, Fettuccine, etc. however, I would recommend tossing with tongs to ensure that pasta is fully manageable and fully coated.Otherwise, other pastas such as Penne, Rigatoni, etc. are perfect.
CANDIED BACON: Place the bacon on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush the tops of the bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle on some brown sugar. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10-15 minutes or so, flipping the bacon and brushing the opposite side with maple syrup and sprinkling the brown sugar as well. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until it is completely caramelized and crispy.