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Arugula Pesto

Makes enough for one pound of pasta

 

In the middle of winter fresh basil gets a titch hard for me to find. There’s none in my garden and small plastic boxes filled with basil cost a bit more than I want to pay. Plus, in my opinion, fresh basil is one of those herbs best picked and used on a hot summer day and it’s anything but summer right now. The outdoor temperature hovers around 14 degrees F and I’m sipping hot tea.

 

With that in mind, I’m heading to my kitchen to make a batch of pesto with some baby arugula I found at my local supermarket. Ground to a paste and seasoned with the ever-popular, heart-healthy walnut, and a small amount of garlic, arugula adds the bright green color and peppery bite of basil, without the licorice overtones. Served over hot pasta this quick and easy pesto should make a filling meal on a cold winter night.

 

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup walnut oil (or 3 tablespoons canola oil plus 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil)

3 cups lightly packed arugula

A few wedges of fresh lemon

 

Place the Parmesan, walnuts, garlic, salt, olive oil, and walnut oil in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is finely ground. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the arugula. Process again until the arugula is incorporated. Serve over hot pasta with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and more grated Parmesan, if desired.

 

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