Roasted asparagus pesto pasta makes a delightful summer meal. We roast our asparagus in long, thin strands which can be twirled on your fork with the spaghetti. You can use my homemade basil pesto recipe or premade pesto to make things easier.

Well, how perfectly summery is this? We have fresh basil pesto, we have tender roasted asparagus, and if the weather is right (pleasant but not so hot that we don’t want hot food) we can enjoy this al fresco with a glass of chilled white wine. Deeelish.

This recipe is fairly straightforward with traditional flavors (though I highly encourage you to try out different pesto ideas – I will be sharing some ideas).

What makes it special is how we treat the asparagus: it’s roasted in long, thin strands until it’s soft and tender. It mixes in with the spaghetti and it’s soft enough to be twirl-able alongside the spaghetti.

How to make asparagus twirl-able

The key to getting the texture right is to slice the asparagus into thin strands. If your asparagus is fine, you’ll just need to halve it. If it’s normal / thick, you will want to quarter it.

It’s a little tricky to get all the strands a uniform thickness – don’t worry too much. Inevitably, at the end some will be a little less bendy and some will be overly soft. This doesn’t bother me at all. But if you are concerned, just make sure the asparagus you buy is really consistent in size and be slow and steady when you slice it.

What to know about your ingredients…

  • Asparagus: Any asparagus will do nicely here. Thicker asparagus can be sliced into quarters and thinner can be sliced into halves so whatever is available, go for it.
  • Spaghetti, tagliatelle or linguine: Any long shape is fine, but it needs to be long! The thin strands of asparagus won’t really work with something like penne.
  • Pesto: You can of course feel free to use a batch of premade pesto if there is a brand you like. The recipe included in the recipe card is my Perfect Vegetarian Pesto Recipe. It’s tried and true and fairly classic – but don’t hesitate to try something with a twist! Keeping reading for some ideas…

Other pesto recipes that would work well in this dish

Asparagus works well with any summer herbs and flavors, so I would encourage you to try this dish with different types of pesto! I am a huge fan of pesto spin-offs and I think any of these ideas would work beautifully in this dish:

  • For something a little creamier, try avocado pesto. I have a couple of recipes on my site – the pesto from this Spaghetti Genovese Recipe is a fairly classic basil avocado pesto. The pesto from this Baked Gnocchi Recipe recipe uses pistachios, mint and cilantro and is a very different flavor profile but is so fresh and summery – it would be ideal in this asparagus spaghetti!
  • Mix up the herbs! This Cilantro (Coriander) Pesto is zingy, fresh and amazing – it would slot in perfectly here. The pesto in this Halloumi Pesto Pasta recipe includes mint – another great choice.
  • Ramp up the green factor. This cavolo nero (lacinato kale) pesto is still silky smooth but is packed with kale and has a gorgeous dark color.
  • Wanna go red? Roasted pepper pesto would work here too – it’s a whole different vibe but don’t hesitate to try it if you want to. I also have a spicy harissa pesto if you want to go really off piste.

Asparagus Spaghetti with Pesto

Roasted asparagus pesto pasta makes a delightful summer meal. We roast our asparagus in long, thin strands which can be twirled on your fork with the spaghetti. You can use my homemade basil pesto recipe or a premade pesto to make things easier.
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  • 10.5 oz (300 g) spaghetti
  • 18 oz (500 g) asparagus
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 3 tbsp grated cheese, for topping


  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 3-4 cups (75 g) basil leaves, feel free to swap in some cilantro or parsley
  • 1 cup (30 g) baby spinach, optional
  • cup (45 g) parmesan or Italian hard cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • cup (80 ml) olive oil, you may want more, up to 1/2 cup


  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F.
  • Prepare the asparagus. Remove the tough stems, then slice the thicker stalks into quarters and the thinner stalks into halves lengthways. Lay them out across two baking sheets, toss with oil and season with salt and pepper.
    Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. At the halfway point, it's a good idea to go in and switch the position of the two baking trays so that one isn't on the lower shelf the entire time.
    18 oz asparagus
  • If you're making your pesto from scratch, do that now. Toast your pine nuts in a dry hot pan until just starting to brown. Add to a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth (if you prefer a chunkier pesto, hold back on some of the cheese and basil and pulse that through in the end to keep some larger pieces).
    3 Tbsp pine nuts, 3-4 cups basil leaves, 1/3 cup parmesan or Italian hard cheese, 2 cloves garlic, 1 lemon, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 cup baby spinach
  • Once the asparagus has about 15 minutes left on the clock, start boiling your pasta. Once it is cooked al dente, drain and toss with most of the pesto (hold a couple tablespoons of pesto back for now) in a large serving bowl.
    10.5 oz spaghetti
  • Check on the asparagus – it is ready once it has reduced in size and is flexible enough to bend when picked up.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over all of the asparagus.
    1 lemon wedge
  • Now add the asparagus to the serving bowl with the pesto spaghetti. Toss through so that the asparagus is well integrated with the spaghetti. Add the rest of the pesto as you are mixing it together. Add additional cheese to the top and serve immediately.
    3 tbsp grated cheese
Calories: 581kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 190mg, Potassium: 596mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2750IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 235mg, Iron: 5mg