Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Arugula-Basil Pesto

Arugula is fairly new addition to our kitchen and am still trying out different ways of using it.
It has a lovely tart taste. Almost bitter; but in a good way. Add just a handful of arugula leaves to your usual salad for an unbelievable zip.
According to the wikepedia entry arugula, a member of the mustard family, is rich in vitamin C and iron.

A recent CSA bag had both, arugula and basil. It was a no brainer to use them to make a pesto.
The bitterness of the arugula complimented the sweetness of the basil very well. The pine nuts added a crunch. This one is a keeper!
Sugar is not a traditional ingredient of pesto, but I think it helped mellow the arugula slightly and consequently made it more palatable for the young'uns.

Arugula-Basil Pesto
2 cups arugula leaves
2 cups basil (any kind)
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, peeled
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine the arugula and basil in a food processor and pulse till you get a coarse mixture.
With the motor running add the garlic cloves, one at a time.
With the motor still running drizzle the oil, add the sugar and salt (start with 1 tsp) and lastly, the pine nuts.
Stop while you still see pieces of the nuts.
Immediately add the lemon juice and mix well.
Adjust the salt.
Transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Serving Suggestions
--I spread some of this pesto on an english muffin, topped it with fresh mozzarella and some red pepper flakes like this:

--Mix 4-5 tbsp of the pesto with one can of cannellini beans (pureed) for a fantastic vegan dip.
--Add the pesto to any canned or ready-to-serve soup to perk it up.
--And of course, with pasta.
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