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Arugula Almond Pesto

January 26, 2011
tags: , ,

pesto pasta salad

The following recipe is an antidote to gray. I’m not so much against the color in general (I’ve been known to favor neutrals when it comes to my painting, wardrobe, etc.), but here in NYC, we’ve been having more than our share of murky weather. The epic snowbanks from snowstorms past have been reduced to little, heaps of smog-crusted ice. More than once, I’ve fallen victim to the lagoons of black, opaque slush that collect on sidewalks and roadsides, getting soaked up to my ankles as I dash to cross the street. But it is, after all, only January. And if I’m sure of anything after nearly 24 years living in the Northeast, it’s that we better strap on our galoshes. This kind of weather is likely sticking around.

So, in the spirit of brightening things up, I’ve been working on a pesto. Although long associated with the abundance of summer basil, it’s just as easy to but together this multi-purpose sauce/condiment with other greens/nuts/cheeses you have around the house, even in the murkiest of winter weather. In an attempt to use up some bagged arugula that had seen better days, I tossed it into the food processor with some olive oil, lemon, and a few other odds and ends that tend to hang around in my kitchen. The result? A stunningly green mixture, ripe with possibilities for pizzas, omelets, sandwiches, and, of course, pasta.

This mixture will keep for a few days in the fridge, but can easily be frozen in ice cube trays until solid, then transferred in cube form to a resealable plastic bag. Whenever the mood for something green strikes, just defrost a cube or two and use as desired.

Pesto Pizza in the making!

Arugula-Almond Pesto
This recipe yields a fairly stiff pesto. I opt to keep it this way so it’s suitable for spreading, but when making pasta, I often thin it with a little starchy cooking water to coat evenly. If thick pesto isn’t your thing, feel free to add more olive oil and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Also note that the arugula you choose will have profound effect on the flavor of the final product-‐the baby leaves that come in bags tend to be much milder than the more peppery, larger-leaved varieties that I love when the farmer’s market is in full swing.

1/4 cup whole roasted almonds
1 cup packed arugula leaves
1/4 cup grana padana (or parmesean) cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil (or more if desired)
1/4 t salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper (not really necessary depending on the articular you go with)

Pulse the almonds briefly before adding the arugula, cheese and lemon. Process the mixture, streaming in the olive oil gradually to achieve the consistency you like. You may need to pause periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Season the mixture to taste, then transfer to a container to store in the refrigerator or freezer, as described above.

Pesto Pizza with zucchini and fresh mozzarella

3 Comments leave one →
  1. super-fan permalink
    January 27, 2011 2:27 pm

    this recipe is lovely but WHERE IS THE NEW HEADER?!?!??!

  2. March 18, 2013 6:59 pm

    I just made this recipe and added some lemon zest and used asiago. Hope it is as delicious?

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