I love when I find that I’m totally addicted to something that’s actually good for me. Too often that is so not the case. Every Spring and Summer I eat asparagus as much as I possibly can until I can’t bear the thought of eating another stalk. And so it begins…
I found this recipe while perusing Food52 – such a beautiful site with wonderful, seasonal recipes! The flavor combination in this dish is incredible. The buttery leeks, the creamy pine nuts, the oh-so-springiness of the green asparagus, the salty bite from the pancetta and the super fresh zing of all the lemon and orange zest. Amazing. I threw the mixture over some seasoned quinoa – perfect for a simple mid-week dinner.
What you’ll need:
1 cup of quinoa (prepared per package instructions – I always try to make mine with chicken or vegetable stock to add a little flavor – I highly suggest you do the same)
1 large bundle of asparagus, woody ends trimmed off, cut into 1.5” pieces
4 oz. pancetta, cut into small slices
1 leek – the white and light green part – cleaned well!
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons – zest and juice
1 orange – zested
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
S&P, butter & olive oil
Prepare the quinoa and season with salt, pepper, and a little of both the lemon and orange zest – set aside. In a large non-stick pan sauté the pancetta until crispy. Add the thinly sliced leek along with a tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the asparagus and cook uncovered until the pieces are cooked through but still bright green (you don’t want mushy asparagus!). Take the asparagus mixture off the heat and add loads of orange and lemon zest, toasted pine nuts, fresh parsley and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Load the mixture on top of the quinoa and enjoy!
This makes quite a bit (4 heaping servings in total, I’d say) so mix the remainder of the quinoa and asparagus mixture with some baby kale, and a little more zest, salt and pepper and eat it for lunch the next day!