Wash, trim and blanche asparagus. Save the water you boiled the asparagus with for cooking the penne.
Cook penne according to package directions using asparagus water. (This will boost the nutrient value of the pasta.)
Set range to medium-high heat. In an extra large frying pan sauté asparagus, artichoke hearts and red onion in olive oil until onions begin to caramelize. If you don’t have an extra large frying pan, do this in batches.
Deglaze pan with vegetable broth or your favorite white wine scraping all the brown bits from the pan. Deglazing simply means adding the vegetable broth to the hot pan and scraping the brown bits loose from the bottom with a spatula. Next add 2 tablespoons of pesto and lightly sauté until pesto is evenly distributed.
Add pasta and grape tomatoes and lightly toss with a set of tongs.
Plate and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Slowly pour olive oil into mixture as it is processing. Blend for about 45 seconds or until mixture looks bright green and thick.