Smackdown: FoPro It Up


It’s almost criminal that it took me this long to obtain a copy of Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking.


Maybe in another three and a half years, I’ll get a copy of Super Natural Every Day. Although I suspect, based on this recipe alone, that I’ll be picking it up a little sooner than that. Hay and straw fettuccine tangle with spring asparagus puree? Yes, please.


Really, Heidi and I are practically BFFs. A couple of years ago, I went to BlogHer Food and stayed with the gracious Karen of off the (meat) hook, who welcomed me into her home even though she only really knew me from Twitter. And as it turns out, Karen is good friends with Heidi, so I spent some time with her at the BlogHer Food after party, where “spent some time” means “sat next to her on a bench for a few minutes while she caught up with Karen.” So we’re close.

Other people with whom I “spent some time”: Matt Armendariz, Diane Cu and Todd Porter, and David Lebovitz. Yeah, I’ve spent some quality time standing near important people.



You know, I try to eat well, but I doubt anyone would peg me as a “Super Natural Cooking” kinda gal. But I love pasta and I LOVE asparagus, so this recipe called out to me. Plus, I’m a sucker for throwing some green shit in a FoPro with garlic and olive oil and slathering the resulting paste on my food. You could sneak all kinds of things I ordinarily dislike into my diet by disguising them with pesto.


And look at that color! Gorgeous. Vibrant. SUPER NATURAL. Blanched asparagus, baby spinach, parm, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil. Whiz whiz whiz, add a little lemon juice and salt, and there you go.

Almost as easy as making regular old basil pesto, and arguably better, because: asparagus.


I would have made my own pasta to go with this fairly simple dish, but I must confess that work has been kicking my ass this week, and it’s all I can do not to come home from work and go directly to bed. Perhaps I actually did do that one or two other days this week. I’ll never tell.

Instead, I lucked out finding fresh fettuccine and spinach fettuccine at Fresh Direct, so I took the easy way out. I cooked up the pasta, tossed it with the asparagus puree and some reserved pine nuts, and added some shavings of cheese.


I took this close-up picture so you wouldn’t see the unseemly amount of pasta I heaped into my bowl after sampling the pasta directly from the pot. Brian gave this dinner a 10 out of 10, and I have to agree; I sucked it down like nobody’s business and went back for more. It tasted like springtime covered with cheese, and ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Oddly enough – and totally contrary to the Super Natural aesthetic – it also tasted kinda like bacon, which, for us, sure didn’t hurt. I can’t figure it out; none of the pots or pans I used have EVER been used to cook bacon, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t unknowingly sneak any in. The asparagus puree had an interesting smoky saltiness, and it really just…bacon.

I’ll definitely be making this again, both because it’s incredibly delicious and to see if it will still taste like bacon the second time around. Good thing I didn’t discover this recipe right at the end of asparagus season! Oh, wait.

12 thoughts on “Smackdown: FoPro It Up

  1. OK, that pasta looks absolutely delish and sounds so simple. So this weekend I’ll be on an asparagus mission at my farmer’s market so I can make Sunday night supper sing. Dang it, I’m seriously craving garlicky Parmesany, pine nutty, asparagus!! Must. Wait. Till. Weekend!

  2. *Licks screen even more* Damn, that looks so good I am sure it cures bipolar. Pity it’s winter here and I have to wait until spring to test its mood-fabulising properties – not going to spoil it by using imported asparagus.

  3. That looks delicious. And so, so fresh. Do you think toasted almonds or walnuts would work in the pesto? I’ve got some weird nut allergies and pine nuts do bad things to me. I’m thinking almonds. Now I just have to wrest my FoPro from the clutches of my employees and bring it home, because I’m pretty sure even Teen Wolf, my son, will eat this in a hot minute.

  4. I have always thought toasted pinenuts had a bacony thing going on, so I bet that’s what it was. This sounds deelicious.

  5. So I just wanted to say, this looks delicious. And that I thought about starting my own cooking blog with lots of salty language and awesome food, but then I found yours and realized the niche has been filled. Props.

  6. sue, didja make it? how was it?

    alice, you’re welcome. this dish will be worth it.

    claire, it’s true, you wouldn’t want to sully the purity of this dish with subpar asparagus. i might recommend a straight-up spinach pesto, also delicious.

    kay, my instinct says walnuts, but that’s not based on anything real. smoke almonds might be interesting, too.

    maven and anotherkate, i thought it was the pine nuts; there was a definite bacon-y smell when i was toasting them. interesting.

    rmonet, there’s always room for more!

    kayb, i’ll take that. i’m not complaining.

  7. I also make an asparagus pesto recipe, but using almonds instead of pine nuts. My recommendation is to try adding a big old blog of ricotta to the pasta when you’re mixing in the pesto — makes it all even better.

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  9. i am making this right now. and i have a thought about the bacon: every time i make asparagus, i roast the shit out of it. and it ALWAYS tastes like bacon. i’ve tried it with olive oil! butter! canola oil (don’t ask)! and it always has that same quality. so i like to think that asparagus just has an inherent bacon thing happening. and it’s just dying to be released. NOM.

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