Lemon Pesto Penne with Crispy Prosciutto and Asparagus



  • 6 oz Penne Pasta (I used DeLallo gluten free)
  • 1 Tbs Salt (for the pasta water)
  • 2 cups Italian Parsley
  • 1/4 cup Cashews
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 9 Asparagus stalks chopped, ends trimmed off
  • 2 Tbs EVOO
  • 4 slices Prosciutto
  • 2 Tbs chopped Shallots
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 cup shredded Grana Padano


  1. Prepare the Lemon Pesto
  2. In a food processor add Parsley, Cashews, Parmesan, Garlic, 1/2 tsp Salt, Lemon Juice, and 1/4 cup EVOO
  3. Blend until smooth
  4. Set pesto aside (this will make 1/2 cup of pesto but you will only need 1/4 cup for this recipe. You can store the rest in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.)
  5. Fill a large pot half way with water and bring to a boil
  6. Add 1 Tbs Salt to the water
  7. Add Penne and cook as directed or until al dente
  8. During the last 2 minutes of the pasta cooking add the Asparagus pieces to the water
  9. Scoop about 1/4 cup of pasta water out and set aside
  10. Drain pasta and Asparagus
  11. In a large pan add 2 Tbs EVOO and heat over med heat
  12. Add Prosciutto and cook 1-2 minutes until crispy, remove and place on a paper towel, break into bite size pieces
  13. Add Shallots to pan and sauté 1 minute
  14. Add Prosciutto, Penne, Asparagus, Lemon Zest, and 1/4 cup Lemon Pesto to the pan
  15. Stir in a bit of pasta water to break up the pesto and create more of a sauce
  16. Cook 1-2 minutes until blended
  17. Add Grana Padano, stir and serve immediately
  18. Enjoy!