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pesto of your choice

Whenever I’m leaving town for more than a couple days, the first thing I think of, is how to use up all the fresh food in the refrigerator. The night before we leave, I usually make a big “garbage” pasta dish. “Garbage” as in, throwing any and every thing into it.

fresh arugula

I’ll show you what that pasta dish looked like in a future post. Today, I’m showing you what I did with an unopened bag of arugula that would have been too much for the pasta.

I used it to make pesto and then I froze the pesto for later use.

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, which is in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese),and traditionally consists of crushed basil, garlic, and pine nuts that are blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk). The name is from the word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and a wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. Nowadays it’s most commonly made in a food processor, at least in the States, it is.

Although basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are the traditional pesto ingredients, feel free to use any variety and combination of greens or herbs, nuts, and cheese.  Here are just a few combinations to get your creative juices flowing. Mix and match to make your own signature pesto.

  • Cilantro and Pepitas
  • Parsley, Anchovy, and Capers
  • Sage, Parsley, and Hazelnuts
  • Spinach in place or in addition to the Basil
  • Mixed Herb; Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Parsley, with Spinach and Asiago
  • Dill, Lemon, Walnut, and Romano
  • Fennel Fond

how to clean proccesor blade

I’ve given this tip before, but it merits repeating. When you have a thick or sticky mixture in a food processor. Remove what you easily can with a rubber spatula, then put the bowl back on the machine and process for just a second or two. The stuff on the blade will be thrown off to the sides of the bowl by centrifugal force and you’ll be able to get all the mixture easily from the bowl.

clean blade

This recipe may be cut in half or quartered, depending on what you have on hand.

arugula pesto

Arugula Pesto

2 cups pecans, walnuts, or almonds, toasted
4 garlic cloves, peeled
8-ounce bag or about 6 packed cups fresh arugula leaves
1 cup olive oil
1  1/2 heaping cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

arugula pesto ingredients

Place the toasted nuts and garlic cloves in a food processor, and process until nuts are ground.

Add the arugula and Parmesan, and blend until the mixture comes together. Add the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube, with the machine running.

Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Process again. Taste, adding more salt, if needed.

Makes about 3 cups

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 05.23.13 at 7:50 PM }

I never am able to use all my arugula! Perfect recipe!

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