Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lemon-Arugula Pesto

So, now I am back on script for Bianca since one of my 'assignments' was to begin posting the pesto recipes that she worked on. Early this year, Bianca started testing different pesto recipes since we are big fans of basil pesto and she started to think that great pesto could be made with other herbs as well including cilantro, parsley, arugula and tarragon. We had a number of horrible failures in the search for a good arugula pesto which was surprising since I love arugula. This one seemed to work since the lemon juice tends to compliment the strong peppery taste of the arugula. The strong peppery taste of the arugula is also great with gorgonzola and blue cheese so try this pesto on a cracker with some Danish Blue Cheese from Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery.


1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, or almonds
2 cloves garlic
1 & 1/2 cups baby arugula leaves
2 tablespoonfuls fresh parsley
2-3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Gold Creek Farms)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Redmond sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

1. Toast the nuts in a non-stick skillet over low heat for 5-6 minutes. Let cool.
2. Add nuts, garlic, arugula, and parsley to food processor. Pulse to chop and combine ingredients.
3. Combine olive oil and lemon juice.  In a slow stream, add the liquids to the food processor and pulse to desired consistency. I tend to like my pesto with more chunks rather than smooth and creamy but this is a personal taste. Add cheese last and pulse to combine. I also tend to like the cheese to be a bit chunky in my pesto so I don't grate it beforehand. If you like a creamier consistency, grate the cheese first.
4. Season with salt and pepper.

---this pesto is delicious mixed in with pasta, prosciutto and peas.
--great with Danish Blue cheese from Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery and crackers (see recipe).
--can freeze in ice cube trays and use later in the year.
--delicious on fresh ricotta cheese bruschetta.
--use Meyer Lemon fused Olive Oil from Millcreek Olive Oil in place of the extra virgin olive oil.

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