February 28, 2011

Arugula Pecan Pesto

Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy and means to crush or pound in Genoese. Traditionally made with basil, hard cheese, pine nuts and olive oil, I like to make both traditional pesto and variations. Arugula makes a nice substitute for basil because of its spicy nutty flavor. Roasted garlic is delicious on its and as an ingredient because it add a smooth and mild garlic flavor. I generally make enough pesto to freeze as an easy option for future dishes. Arugula pesto is delicious over gnocchi and makes a great pizza sauce.

Other hard Italian cheeses may be used instead or in addition to Parmesan. Walnuts or pine nuts may be used instead of pecans.

3 c fresh arugula

½ c parmesan

¼ c pecans, toasted

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 tbsp parsley, stemmed

½ c olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add arugula and cook for 1 minute. Place arugula under cold water to stop cooking process and blanch. Once cooled, squeeze water from arugula, tightly wrap in a clean dish towel and set aside.

2. Next, place pecans, parsley, garlic and parmesan into food processor or blender. Blend ingredients until well combined. Add drained arugula to food processor and blend until thoroughly combined. Slowly add olive oil while processing and continue blending into a smooth paste.

3. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Serve as desired. Pesto may be frozen for up to 1 year.

To roast garlic: preheat oven to 400 degrees, sprinkle olive oil on a head of garlic, wrap in tinfoil, place in oven and bake until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Use or refrigerate for up to one week.

Makes about 2 cups


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