This orecchiette pasta offers an explosion of spring time flavors with rich, nutty flavors from the walnut pesto and a subtle kick of heat from the sausage.
Put water on to boil for the pasta. Heavily salt the water once boiling and cook the pasta to package instructions, but strain from water 1-2 minutes before suggested cooking time. Reserve some of the pasta water.
To make the pesto, add all pesto ingredients to a food processor except for the olive oil. Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes can be added to taste. Pulse the ingredients together as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto is ground into a paste or you reach a preferred consistency.
Steam the asparagus in a pan in 1/2 inch of white wine for 3-4 minutes until tender, but not too soft. Asparagus should still be bright green. Remove asparagus from the pan and dump out any remaining wine.
Cut sausages in half and squeeze the meat out of the sausage casing. Sauté in a pan with 1 tbsp olive oil over low heat and break the meat into small pieces while sautéing.
Once the sausage has browned, add the pesto and asparagus. Toss in the cooked pasta and a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. Stir to coat the pasta in pesto and cook 2-3 minutes in the pan.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.