Happy Earth Day! I can't think of a better way to celebrate than eating some delicious arugula pesto. Arugula pesto is a fun take on traditional basil pesto. A great alternative when basil is not in season and a perfect substitution for any dish where you'd normally use pesto. Arugula is easily one of my favorite greens. It creates a wonderfully bright green pesto with a peppery finish, making it a great addition to many spring dishes. I've used basically the same recipe as my basil pesto, just tweaked it a bit. A couple of batches of this will hopefully tide me over until my basil plant is in full bloom in a couple months.
I always feel somewhat silly writing down a recipe for pesto, as I find it's more of a guide than a set in stone master recipe. Pesto is completely dependent on the quality of your ingredients. Buy the freshest basil or arugula, use a good quality olive oil, and most importantly, real Parmigiano Reggiano. It's way more expensive than most of the stuff found in supermarkets, but it will reward you plenty!
4 cloves garlic, peeled
¾ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2½ cups fresh arugula
½ cup olive oil
¾ to 1 tsp. sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. pepper
Add the garlic, parmesan, and pine nuts to a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Add the arugula, olive oil, salt and pepper, and purée until you’ve reached a smooth and creamy consistency. Taste to adjust seasonings and refrigerate until ready to use.
For long-term storage, transfer pesto to ice cube trays. Freeze overnight and transfer to zip-top bags (this allows for smaller serving sizes, so you're not stuck with a solid block of pesto, helping it to defrost more quickly).
Yield: about 10 oz. or 1¼ cups
- If you’re doubling or tripling this recipe, do it in batches, or as much as your blender or food processor will allow.
- I like my pesto on the saltier side, so feel free to reduce the amount of salt, also taking into consideration how salty your parmesan is.
- In a pinch, you can always substitute walnuts for pine nuts.