Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan and make the basil pesto. You can shave the cheese to finish the dish instead of using it in the sauce.
Cut off about 1 cm from the bottoms of the asparagus. Rinse with running water. Prepare a bowlful of cold water with ice. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
Salt the boiled water (use 1 tablespoon of salt per 1000 ml of water) and bowl the asparagus until al dente. Prepare a tea towel.
Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place immediately in cold water. Move to a tea towel or paper towel. Pat dry lightly.
Arrange the asparagus on a baking tray and drizzle on 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 5 minutes in an oven at 180℃.
Pour the basil pesto onto a serving plate and place the asparagus on top. Serve with black pepper and shaved parmesan cheese.
I don't have a special asparagus pot so I cook the asparagus upright in a deep pot for 20 seconds first and then lay them down to cook further.
If you like melted cheese on top, microwave for 1 minute at Step 6.
I used this basil pesto for the white asparagus but I think it works better with green asparagus.
Story Behind this Recipe
It was really nice when I tried this for the first time. Peter Bunner, the chef, once recommended drying the asparagus with a little olive oil in the oven after blanching. I tried it. He didn't mention that he patted them dry after soaking them in cold water, or write down the temperature of the oven, so I included those things here after some experimenting.
I learned this method of 'drying' asparagus with olive oil in the oven for 5 minutes from a chef's magazine column. I usually soak them in cold water and pat dry but when I tried his way the asparagus tasted better. Do not overcook the asparagus.