Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One Great . . . arugula pesto

The basil is jumping up, but it's not knee-high yet. But arugula is living up to its name, rocket. Time to change up your pesto game.

We get so used to pesto made with basil and pine nuts that it's easy to forget you can make it with other things. I spotted an arugula version on www.seriouseats.com last week and started thinking how perfect that would be. Arugula is so peppery that it can be too much in a salad with more delicate greens. But it's just right when it's combined with garlic, Parmesan and walnuts.

What to do with it? Just for starters, I can think of tossing it with pasta, spreading it on grilled chicken, using it as the base for a salad of chilled, cooked green beans or topping grilled baguette slices for bruschetta.

Arugula Pesto
From www.seriouseats.com.

2 cups arugula leaves, packed (I discarded the heavier stems)
1/4 cup walnuts
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup of olive oil or a little more if needed
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 teaspoon lemon juice
About 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Place the arugula, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse to chop. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil to form a moist paste. Stir in Parmesan, lemon juice and salt. (You might want to skip pepper, since arugula is naturally pretty peppery.)

Cover with a thin film of oil and cover tightly to refrigerate. Keeps about 3 days refrigerated.

Makes about 1 cup.