Arugula, also known as ‘roquette’, is my all time favorite green. Its peppery bite and tender texture is something I can’t ever get enough of.
An obvious use for arugula is in salads. However last year when making massive batches of pesto at the end of August to freeze for winter, I began to experiment with arugula pesto with great success. Celebrating the first of the season from our Farmer’s Market, I decided to glorify it further by using pistachio nuts from my recent road trip to New Mexico in the place of pine nuts. The results were fabulous.
Traditional pesto is made with basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese. It is a very fast and fresh way to dress pasta, as a sauce for chicken or fish, or a sauce for vegetables. Once you begin to make it you’ll realize the possibilities are endless and it’s such an easy thing to whip up! I’ve provided my base pesto recipe but you can make it more peppery with more arugula or garlic. Season to your own preference!
TOASTED PISTACHIO ARUGULA PESTO
· 4-5 cups arugula, washed, long stems removed
· 1 large garlic clove
· ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
· ¼ cup pistachio nuts, shelled
· Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat until warm. Add the pistachio nuts, stirring frequently until beginning to toast (about 3-4 minutes). You will note them beginning to brown. Be careful to not allow them to burn.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, place 4 cups arugula, garlic clove, toasted pistachio nuts and olive oil. Process until liquefied, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If you desire the pesto to be thinner, add more olive oil. Serve over freshly made pasta and some chopped pistachio nuts for garnish.
I used brown rice fusili pasta. As a gluten free diner, finding good gluten free pasta can be a challenge. Often the taste or structure do not compare to regular pasta with gluten. Tinkyada brand pastas in my opinion have great flavor as well as structure that is more like regular wheat flour pasta.