I had some leftover arugula recently (more on why in my next post). I also have a ton of pecans in my freezer, thanks to a recent longing for pecans (that resulted in an online purchase of authentic Texas pecans) and a subsequent trip to see my grandfather, who gave us even better pecans. I even had parmesan in the fridge. So, I decided the best way to avoid wasting the arugula was to make some pesto.
I was incredulous when I first read that you could make pesto with herbs other than basil, but I’ve since become a huge fan of non-arugula pesto. Arugula has a slightly peppery taste that I enjoy, which sets arugula pesto apart from the basil kind.
This goes well with pasta, pizzas, really anything for which you’d use basil pesto – I like to pair it with a baked potato and a little white cheese.
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks’ Recipe for Basil Pesto; makes approximately 1 cup pesto depending on the amount of olive oil used and the amount of arugula in the bunch
- 1 small bunch of arugula
- 3 medium cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan
- small handful of pecans or walnuts
- 3 – 4 TBSP of extra-virgin olive oil
Wash the arugula and remove the stems. Chop the arugula roughly. Peel the garlic cloves.
Place the arugula, garlic, and pecans or walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. This is one occasion where a smaller food processor works better, so that you don’t have to constantly open the food processor and push the ingredients around with a spoon (Side note: please only open the food processor and push stuff around when the food processor is unplugged. I know they all have safety mechanisms to prevent the food processors from operating with the top off, but you can never be too careful! Okay, paranoid-lady talk over).
Pulse until all of the ingredients are in tiny little bits and are well-mixed. Add the Parmesan 1/4 cup at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Add the olive oil, tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing several times after each addition. Add enough olive oil that the pesto looks solid but completely blended; if you have not added enough oil, the ingredients will not stay together. If the pesto is still not well-mixed, pulse a few more times.
Store in the refrigerator. If using with pasta, you may need to add some pasta water to the pasta to thin the pesto, about 1/4 cup of pasta water for a whole box of pasta and a tablespoon if you are only making 1 – 2 servings.
You can also freeze pesto, but you have to thaw it completely or reheat it very, very gradually.