Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pretty Pesto

I am typically not a fan of traditional red sauce on pasta, but I do love pasta and I love sauce. So what’s a girl to do? Enter pesto. Only recently did I learn that there are numerous ways to make pesto, featuring various different ingredients – Arugula? Mint? Basil? Oregano? You betcha. The options are really endless as long as you have something leafy and green.

I received an arugula bunch (an aromatic green, typically added to salads) in my recent farm share and figured I would try this whole pesto thing out. Gotta make use of my little food processor, right?

I hunted around the internet for a recipe, and most of them seemed pretty similar… some mix of arugula, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and cheese. I wasn’t quite satisfied with any one in particular so I figured I would create my own. Especially since I didn’t have pine nuts or walnuts on hand (which many recipes suggested to use) I created my own variety using pumpkin seeds. Note: if you’re going to make this with pumpkin seeds use the good pepita kind, not those white salty ones you usually find at the gas station or supermarket. (You can most likely find them at Wegmans -- for you Rochester readers -- or Trader Joe's and Whole Foods -- for you Boston readers.)

I like arugula but I was a little concerned about making a whole pesto out of it considering how bitter it is. But, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, it had a bitter kick (so if you don’t like that, this recipe is not for you) but once it sat in the fridge for a few hours, some extra salt was added. and the pesto was poured over pasta it mellowed out enough to be quite enjoyable. A wonderful pasta accompaniment for hot weather, that’s for sure!

Jillian’s Own Arugula Pesto

Ingredient suggestions are based off of what I did, you can obviously add more or less depending on your taste.

Ingredients –
• One bunch of arugula
• ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon kosher sea salt
• ¼ cup shredded 3 cheese blend

Directions –
• With a knife chop the arugula just enough that it will fit in your food processor.
• Chop/gate the arugula in a food processor.
• Add arugula to a large bowl.
• Mix in all other ingredients.
• Return the whole mixture to the food processor and chop/blend.
• And salt and pepper to taste.
• Serve with pasta as prepared by box directions. Enjoy!

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