If my 10-year-old self could see me now, I wonder what she’d say.
I was a picky eater with a pretty developed flavor palate. My parents are foodies, but at 10, I was anything but. My parents had a rule that we had to try everything. We couldn’t just stick out our tongue. I remember several evenings around the family dinner table where it was a total battle of wills to just take a bite of the mahi mahi or two bites of the curry. Who knew?
At age 10, all I wanted was a crunchy iceberg salad at dinner. Instead, I had a plate of mesclun and arugula greens. I remember the requests to “finish the arugula on the plate and then….” I didn’t believe in arugula at age 10. Why does this strange lettuce have to have so much flavor?! Arugula, really?? Who knew that I would grow up to be this person that seeks out arugula. Heck, I even grow arugula on my fire escape! That’s how much I love it!
In the off season, I tend to buy the bags of baby arugula from Trader Joe’s. Arugula is in season now – as are a variety of other greens. And I’m in salad green heaven.
Arugula is a fantastic green characterized by its amazing slightly peppery flavor. It’s also sometimes called roquette or rocket greens.
Last week, as I came upon the farmer’s market outside my office, I spotted some beautiful greens and I had to have them. I eagerly bought two bunches. Of course, when I came home and picked up my CSA, there were a couple more bunches. This whole lot of arugula was in addition to a bag of baby arugula sitting in my fridge. Um. I think I had more arugula that I needed. I mean, I love salads, but this much arugula was making me twitchy.
I decided to make a pesto out of the greens. My husband usually turns down a basil pesto, but I had a hunch that the lighter flavor of the arugula leaves would be more to his liking. And I was right!
I washed and dried a few cups of the greens and pulsed it in my Cuisinart along with some garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil. It took all of two minutes.
I added the pesto to some pappardelle that I tossed with some sautéed shallots, garlic, mushrooms, chickpeas and additional lemon juice. I sprinkled on some red pepper flakes and ground black pepper and dinner was served. Dinner was a success. I stored the rest of the pesto in my freezer. I am totally making this again. If only arugula season was year-round.
- 3.5 cups of arugula leaves (you can include some of the stems), washed
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
- ¾ cup olive oil
- additional salt and pepper to taste
- Place everything except for the olive oil in to the bowl of a food processor.
- Process everything then slowly pour in the olive oil until everything is processed and mixed together.
- Taste the pesto and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Enjoy! Add this pesto pasta or use as a pizza topping. The options are endless.