Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Pistachio Pesto

Special to OLM: Experience a taste of local favourite Italian hotspot Zolas Restaurant—right in your own home! Chef Tony shares his coveted family recipes and culinary tips to help you prepare real Italian food for your loved ones. Zolas is located in Nepean at 2194 Robertson Road. Call (613) 721-022 or visit

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*makes 2 cups

2 bunches of fresh asparagus

¼ cup of fresh mint

¼ cup flat leaf parsley

¼ cup Thai Basil leaves

¼ cup grated Parmigiano

Reggiano cheese

4 tablespoons of toasted


1 clove of garlic, chopped

juice of 1 lime

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Trim the tough ends of the asparagus and rinse thoroughly before grilling.
  2. Lightly coat asparagus with olive oil and grill over a hot grill for five minutes, turning every 1 to 2 minutes until stalk is tender (e.g. easily penetrated with a fork). Note: This helps caramelize the asparagus by bringing out its natural sugars.
  3. Remove and cut spear tips and put aside. Chop the remaining asparagus and place in a food processor.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the pesto becomes smooth.

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Try this exciting mix of flavors on your favorite pasta, pizza or drizzled on salad with the charred asparagus tips or as a spread on a fresh chewy Ciabatta sandwich.

Chef T’s Asparagus Tips:

Asparagus is freshest, sweetest and crispiest in the spring. Look for firm, even asparagus stacks with firm green or purplish tips. Asparagus has high levels of some very important vitamins, minerals and amino acids, plus it’s high in fiber, making it a super food!