This is an adaptation of an old Armenian recipe, and this variation is so delicious I can't stop eating it. It's a great way to stretch expensive seasonal asparagus and pricey cashews. It's great as a side dish or as a vegetarian main course.
I'd actually give this 4 stars as the recipe appears, but it's going to be so easy to fix that I wanted to give it 5 stars in theory.... To me, this recipe was awfully greasy, but the flavor was so good and the recipe so unique that, with the butter halved, I think it will be absolutely exceptional. Per other reviews, I broiled the asparagus (cut and placed on foil-lined, greased cookie sheet, sprinkled with salt/pepper/garlic, and broiled for 3-4 minutes) and toasted 3/4 cup cashews (reused the foil lined sheet and broiled for 1 minute). Be warned that the spaghetti browns really quickly in the butter, so next time I might brown the rice first and then add in the spaghetti to brown. Finally, I did not have nearly enough liquid to cook all that rice -- I ended up adding almost 3/4 cup of water towards the end, but it still turned out beautifully. Again, next time I will reduce the butter to 2T (and I like things buttery, but this left a lot of greasy residue on the plate, which for me means it's too much). - 23 Feb 2006 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
UPDATE 9-26-07: I've made this a hundred times (at least!) since my original review - I think I could make this blindfolded! Now I only put in Asparagus if I have leftovers, and I rarely add the cashews - it's very good either way. Obviously, this recipe is a keeper for me! FIRST REVIEW JUNE 03: This Pilaf recipe offers a nice presentation and has great taste and texture. I substituted the vegetable broth with chicken and would do that again. Instead of boiling asparagus I broiled it in the oven, and would also toast the cashews next time as another reviewer suggested. I also enjoyed the browned spaghetti in this dish. Excellent recipe, Sandy T., thanks! - 10 Mar 2003 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
Very good. Used sliced almonds as I did not have cashews, but it would have been way better with cashews, I can tell. I used chicken broth and then chicken base granules instead of salt. Also, substituted orzo instead of the spaghetti. And, I highly recommend that you french-slice the raw asparagus then saute in garlic, pinch of salt and olive oil/butter blend. The asparagus stays green and slightly firm. Better texture than steamed. Everyone really liked this dish. I will definitely make this again. - 25 Apr 2005 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)