This recipe makes more pesto than you need, but it is delicious and good to have on hand.
For the Pesto:
- 3/4 cup California walnuts, toasted
- 1 bunch arugula, washed, with stems removed (2 ounces of clean stemmed leaves)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (about 3 cloves) chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Pasta Assembly:
- 1/2 pound dried farfalle (bow tie) pasta
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 cups diced applewood smoked chicken, or other smoked chicken, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 cups sliced asparagus, in 1-inch, diagonal pieces
- 4 teaspoons (about 4 cloves) chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup arugula-walnut pesto
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 15-20 California walnut halves, toasted
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- To make the pesto, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine all of the ingredients and process for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the pesto is smooth.
- Transfer to a tightly sealed container, and refrigerate, until ready to use. You will yield about 1 1/4 cups. Have all ingredients at hand and 4 serving plates or bowls warmed when you begin preparing the pasta. Once you start, it goes quickly.
- Drop the farfalle into a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook according to package directions; the pasta should be slightly firm to the bite, not mushy.
- In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the chicken, asparagus and garlic; cook stirring and tossing frequently until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pesto and creme fraiche.
- Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet. Stir and toss for a moment to combine and coat the pasta with the sauce. Divide the pasta among 4 heated plates or bowls, then garnish with toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan.