Wash and trim asparagus. Cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and cook asparagus for about 2-3 minutes, depending on how cooked you want it.
I like mine al dente. Start checking at 2 minutes. Once it’s reached your preferred level of doneness, strain and rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking longer.
Put the asparagus along with all other ingredients, except for the pasta, into a food processor or blender. Pulse until everything is finely chopped or pureed, depending on how you want it. I like it a tad chunky.
Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving some pasta water if you want to thin out the pesto.
While the pasta is cooking make balsamic reduction by adding everything to a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for about 9 minutes stirring every few minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a glass container.
Once pasta is done, drain and put it back into the pot. Add in the desired amount of pesto. Mix well.
You can add some reserved pasta water to thin out if you prefer. Serve on plates with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction and sprinkle of crushed pistachios and lemon zest.
You can use roasted or raw pistachios, although raw shelled are harder to find.
If you don’t have veggie broth, you can sub in water but the broth adds a touch of flavor.
The balsamic reduction is optional for an added layer of flavor to this dish, I highly recommend it as it only takes a few minutes to make.
Tips to prep ahead: Make pesto and balsamic reduction.
Baby/kid food idea: Make sure pesto is fully blended without any chunks. Cook pasta until well done and serve for older baby. For younger baby you can blend pasta in with the pesto.