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5 from 5 votes

Asparagus Pasta Recipe

This asparagus pasta recipe showcases fresh spring asparagus in all its glory! Pasta coated with butter and basil pesto envelope pieces of tender asparagus, onions, and garlic. A dusting of toasted breadcrumbs, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, fresh lemon zest, and pop of red pepper flakes complete this simple and satisfying vegetarian pasta dinner!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Asparagus Pasta, Fresh Asparagus Pasta Recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 921kcal


  • Large Skillet


  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles or other pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 tablespoon salted butter divided
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound asparagus trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup basil pesto sauce
  • Lemon zest for serving
  • ½ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese for serving
  • ¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs for serving
  • Kosher salt to taste


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of heavily salted water. (It should be so salty it tastes like the ocean.)
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and a sprinkle of kosher salt, to taste, stirring to coat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until it softens and begins to become translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the asparagus, red pepper flakes, and a pinch more kosher salt. Cook until asparagus pieces are tender, about 3 minutes more.
  • While the asparagus is cooking, drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Once the asparagus is tender, add the cooked pasta to the skillet.
  • Add the pesto and 4 – 6 more tablespoon of butter (or to your preference) to the skillet, tossing everything until pesto has coated the pasta and butter is melted. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water to thin the sauce, if desired.
  • Garnish the pasta with fresh lemon zest, parmesan cheese, and toasted breadcrumbs to serve.


  • Leftover pasta can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.
  • White wine can be used in place of the pasta water, if desired.
  • Refer to post on how best to trim asparagus.
  • Refer to post on how to easily toast breadcrumbs.


Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 921kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 780mg | Potassium: 599mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2828IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 285mg | Iron: 5mg