Pasta with Asparagus and Kale

Fresh and warming at the same time. With a little extra time to simmer the sauce you will have a delicious meal. Inspired by our friend, Laura of @TheFirstMess

Pasta with Kale and Asparagus


Recipe by Laura Wright of The First Mess

vegetarian, gluten-free


2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, small dice (about 1 cup diced onion)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½-1 teaspoon dried chili flakes (or to taste)

sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

⅓ cup rosé wine

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes1 sprig of basil, plus extra

½ lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed and remaining stalks cut into 2-inch pieces

⅓ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours

1 cup filtered water

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

¾ lb penne pasta (I used Banza)

1 small bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped (about 4 cups chopped kale)

parmesan cheese (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Set a large, heavy pot on the stove over medium heat. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into the pot. add the onions and sauté until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes, salt and pepper to the pot and stir. Once garlic is fragrant, about 45 seconds, add the rosé to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Once the rosé has reduced by two thirds, add the crushed tomatoes and the whole sprig of basil. Place a lid on top of the pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce heat so that the sauce is simmering. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, place chopped asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread asparagus out into a single layer and slide the baking sheet into the oven. Roast until just tender, about 17-18 minutes. Set aside.

Make the cashew sauce by draining the cashews and place in a high-speed blender. Add the water and nutritional yeast. Blend on high until completely smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Once the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, extract the wilted basil sprig. Add the cashew cream to the sauce and stir. Add the cooked pasta, kale and roasted asparagus to the pot with the rosé sauce. Stir to combine, adding splashes of the reserved pasta water if necessary. It should be creamy. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, chili flakes and chopped basil.

November 15, 2019 — Melissa Wrensch