Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Arugula Pesto

Hello, friends. We have been having a long-term argument with our neighboring woodchuck, who has helped himself to all of our broccoli plants, sugar snap peas, beets, and a handful of lettuce heads. He has not, however, taken to the taste of arugula. Arugula is one of our favorite salad greens to grow. It can be planted in the early spring, germinates reliably, and is a tasty and peppery addition to the table. The downside to this plant, however, is its tendency to bolt in hot weather. When the plants bolt, the leaves turn tough and really bitter.

This year I decided to try to make the most of our arugula harvest before the hot weather arrives. I made this pesto on the weekend. We put it on fingerling potatoes and fresh bread and really liked it. I made enough to freeze, too.

Here is how I did it. This will make enough for about 1 cup of finished pesto.

Arugula Pesto

2 cups washed and stemmed arugula leaves
2 - 4 T. walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or whatever nut you happen to have
1 t. salt
2-4 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2-4 T. shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1/4 - 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Roughly chop the arugula, any larger-sized nuts that you might be using, and the tomatoes. Put the garlic clove through a garlic press or mince it up. Put the first 6 ingredients into a food processor and blend. While the motor is still running, slowly pour in the olive oil until you end up with a creamy mixture.

I varied the olive oil amounts here. Some people like a pesto that has a thinner consistency for topping a pizza. Others simply want to monitor their calorie intake, and olive oil offers plenty of calories, so you can be the judge of how much you want to add.

So, my freezer is packed with wee jars of pesto. I think these will come in handy, especially during a snowy day next winter.

If you don't have arugula on hand, basil will, of course, do just fine!

Happy cooking, friends.
Be well,

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