Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pasta with arugula pesto recipe

Pasta with arugula pesto and pine nuts. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
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I have to hide the pine nuts when they come into my house. It seems like everyone wants to nibble on these little guys - they're rich and flavorful and as the saying goes, you can't eat just one (handful).

Pine nuts. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

The good folks at Frieda's Specialty Produce sent me a goody package last month that included pine nuts. I nibbled on them for a bit, and then hid them in a succession of places - the pantry, the cabinet, the freezer, and doling them out in dishes like my New Year's greens with pine nuts and raisins.

Pine nuts from Frieda's. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

And then my neighbor gave me some arugula from her CSA box and I knew it was time for Arugula Pesto Pasta, the wintertime version of summer's best dish, Basil Pesto Pasta. Arugula is an acquired taste, I think. It can be peppery and strong, but I love it. I'm just saying that this dish is probably not going to win any fans under the age of 12. As we say in our house, that's just more for me.

Arugula. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Arugula pesto with pine nuts. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Arugula Pesto

4 cups packed arugula leaves, cleaned and stemmed

1/4 cups toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound pasta such as spaghetti or rotini or farfalle, cooked according to package directions

More pine nuts for garnish

1. In a food processor, blitz the arugula leaves. Add cheese and pine nuts and process again for 15 seconds. With food processor running, add olive oil in a stream through the feeding tube. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. Serve pesto over cooked pasta and garnish with additional pine nuts. Serve immediately. Store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator, although it is best eaten when freshly prepared.

(recipe adapted from

Rotini with arugula pesto. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Text and images copyright Lucy Mercer, 2012.


Aggie said...

This looks so delicious! I made something similar recently and added meyer lemon to the pesto sauce!

Felicia said...

How lucky you are to have a gift supply of pine nuts! The good ones are hard to find.I'm fascinated with the notion of an arugula pesto -- it looks beautiful!