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Watercress pesto and shaved asparagus tagliatelle Verdi

Sweet asparagus loves salty parmesan and watercress loves walnuts in this green pasta.

Serves 4  Total Time 25 mins


• 500g asparagus

• 500g tagliatelle verdi

• Pinch of chilli flakes

• Parmesan, grated

For the Pesto

• 100g watercress (a few leaves saved to garnish)

• 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped

• 60g walnuts

• 80ml extra virgin olive oil

• 40g parmesan, grated


1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

2. Snap the ends off the asparagus and blanch in the water for 3-4 mins until al dente. Use a slotted spoon to lift them out and leave to cool in a colander. 

3. Add the pasta to the same water and cook for around 8-10 mins, or until al dente.

4.  While the pasta is cooking, put all the ingredients for the pesto (except for the oil and parmesan) into a food processor. Start to blitz and then stream in the oil until you have the consistency you like. Add the parmesan and pulse a couple of times to combine. Taste and season accordingly.

5. Take the cooled asparagus and using a peeler or sharp knife, shave into long ribbons.

6. Drain the pasta, add the asparagus ribbons and as much of the pesto as you like. Toss to coat everything.

7.  Serve the pasta topped with the remaining watercress, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil,a pinch of chilli flakes, a grating of parmesan and fresh black pepper.

Cook’s Tip

The pesto freezes brilliantly, so any leftovers can be portioned into containers or ice cube trays for later use. It’s also delicious on toast topped with a poached egg for a weekend brunch. 

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