Arugula and Walnut Pesto

Last night for dinner I made a quick arugula and walnut pesto.  Eliza’s family has been getting produce through a CSA with our friends at Greenbrier Farm and so there was plenty of fresh and delicious arugula to work with.  Besides subbing fresh arugula for basil we also subbed out the regular pine nuts and Parmesan cheese that appear in pestos.  Here is the run down, it is exceptionally easy.

  • About 2 cups (give or take half a cup) of fresh arugula, well rinsed to get any gritty dirt off.
  • About half a cup of fresh parsley (stems and all). The parsley adds some additional flavor in slight contrast with that of the arugula. You could use store bought stuff, but I’ll tell you, after eating the fresh stuff growing around Eliza’s house, any parsley from the store just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • About seven cloves of garlic.  Toast five or six of them in a toaster oven for about five minutes.
  • About half a cup of walnuts.  Walnuts seem to go real well with the already earthy-nutty flavor of the arugula.  I toasted some of the walnuts for a bit as well. Walnuts are also quite a bit cheaper than pine nuts.
  • About a quarter cup (or so) of aged Gouda.  Aged Gouda has a wonderfully hard texture and salty flavor that is a very good substitute for Parmesan.
  • Olive oil, added to all of the above as it is being blended up.
  • Salt and pepper (you know, standard fare stuff folks).

I combined all of the above ingredients in Eliza’s food processor and began to pulse on a low setting, adding olive oil while the blades tore stuff apart.  Eventually I had a nice green paste of tasty pesto.  With the arugula and large amounts of garlic this pesto had a bit of a spicy kick to it (don’t think chili pepper spicy, more of a hot mustard or wasabi spicy . . . that whole brassicaceae family thing going on).  We served it with some pasta (as pesto often is) and cherry tomatoes.  Great stuff!  I love pestos and am already planning out some other variations to make and freeze for later use.

Note: I wanted to point out that this is my 901 post on this blog (yesterday’s post being my 900th).  I just think that is impressive.  I can’t claim that all of those 900 are really any good, but it sure has been fun writing them.

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~ by Nathaniel on May 12, 2010.

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