Asparagus & Parmesan Pasta Salad
Whenever spring rolls around, I try to get as much asparagus as I can get my hands on! It’s one of my favorite vegetables and it’s so much better when it’s in season! The deli at out local grocery store has a parmesan pasta salad with spinach and I started to wonder how it would be with asparagus instead and crunchy walnuts. Turns out it’s super tasty and is going to be in my party rotation from here on out!
Let’s get to it!
The first order of the business will be to cook the asparagus. Boil a pot of water and add the garlic cloves and salt.
This is going to help flavor the asparagus. Put your asparagus in the boiling water for four to seven minutes, depending on how thick the stalks are.
While it’s cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water. You are going to shock the asparagus in this cold water so it stays nice and green. Once the asparagus is cooked but still has some crunch, scoop it out with a slotted spoon into the ice water. Let that sit.
Leave the pot of boiling water on the stove and add your penne pasta. Follow the package instructions to cook the pasta until al dente (if the package doesn’t include al dente instructions, just cook about a minute less than what it says). Now drain your pasta and run cold water over it to help cool it down and also prevent it from cooking further. Drain it well and put it all in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and stir, this will ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together while it cools. Let the pasta cool to room temperature.
Now you’ll make the dressing. In a medium bowl mix together the mayo, sour cream, balsamic, pesto, and a pinch of salt.
It’s time to put the whole thing together! Drain your asparagus and put that in the bowl with the pasta. Pour in all but about one third of a cup of the dressing. Add the parmesan and walnuts on top.
Set aside a few tablespoons of the parmesan for garnish on the top of the salad. Mix it all together until everything is coated in dressing and evenly distributed.
Cover and chill at least an hour before serving. This gives everything time to meld together. Make sure to put the remaining dressing in the fridge also. When you’re ready to serve the salad, taste it to see if it needs more. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top and serve.
This salad is nice and creamy with some crunch from the walnuts. The flavor of the pesto and balsamic work really well with the asparagus. This pasta salad is going to be your new cookout and BBQ favorite this spring!
- 2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-2" pieces
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts
- 1 cup shredded parmesan
- Add garlic cloves, salt, and asparagus to a pot of boiling water. Cook 4-7 minutes or until the asparagus is cooked but still has some crunch.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water and scoop cooked asparagus into that.
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente.
- Drain pasta and run cold water over it.
- Put the pasta in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil. Stir and cool to room temperature.
- Mix together mayo, sour cream, balsamic, pesto, and a pinch of salt.
- Drain asparagus and put that in with the pasta.
- Pour in all but about 1/3 cup of the dressing. Add parmesan and walnuts on top. Set aside a few tablespoons of the parmesan and mix everything together.
- Cover and chill the pasta salad and extra dressing at least an hour.
- Taste to see if more dressing is needed and sprinkle remaining parmesan on top and serve.