Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arugula pesto

Pesto has long been a favorite of mine. From the first chomp of the basil leaf, I was hooked... pungent garlic kick, soft sweetness of the pine nut, the aromatic addition of parmesan... just writing about it gets me thinking: what can I make next with the pesto? Luckily, the options and variations are numerous!

It wasn't until years after the first forays into pesto that I discovered arugula as a deviation on basil--probably right around the time that arugula itself was blazing it's way into American kitchens. I was amazed and delighted to discover that I could order boxes--yes, BOXES--of arugula, much like I could order boxes of mixed greens, from my food wholesaler for my catering business. So, making my own arugula pesto got really easy...

This spring, I planted arugula and have enjoyed salads aplenty. But as the season waned and the sun heated up on those little green leaves, the arugula was on it's proverbial last legs. So, I harvested the lot of it, and decided it was time for a little pot of bright green goodness.

My variation is a bit of a combo of basil and arugula, just for kicks. And while most recipes tend to pair arugula with walnuts, I maintain a dedication to the spendy but irreplaceable pine nut. Little did I realize when I whipped my batch up, but my version is very close to how Sarabeth (of yummy NYC bakery fame) makes hers! Bonus.

Arugula pesto
Makes around 1.5 cups
3 cups arugula leaves, loosely packed
1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
3 medium cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Wash and dry the arugula and basil. In a food processor with the blade attachment, add the arugula, basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Pulse the processor while slowly adding the olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

I used some of the pesto as a base for an apricot, nectarine, Walla Walla Sweet Onion and brie pizza over the weekend. It was lovely.

Then I slathered some on a fresh baguette and topped it with figs and chevre for a tasty lunch.

What's next? Well, this post about mac-and-cheese with arugula pesto sounds pretty divine... and this post about the addition of chickpeas to the mixture has me very curious indeed; might have to give that whirl.

If you haven't had a chance to take arugula out for a spin in this setting, I hope you give it a try. This mixture is so far from the world of jarred or store-bought pesto, it's in a whole other (hand gesture reaching to the ceiling) category, truly.

Are you a pesto fan? What's your favorite dish with pesto? I'm always up for something new!

1 comment:

  1. Is it wrong that I just want to take that bowl of pesto, grab a spoon, and hide away somewhere with it and eat it up?


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