Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Arugula Pesto

I'm probably pushing things a bit for most Ontarians, but I'm getting some great overwintered greens out of our hoophouses right now: spinach, arugula and miner's lettuce being the main ones. I hope if you have access to a really good farmers market these will be showing up soon. Arugula is one of the fastest growing greens out there, ready in a little more than a month of growing weather, and it should be available all summer, although best when it's not too hot.

This is a fairly thick, spready pesto, so either spread it, or thin it down with a little water, broth, yogurt, or a little more of the oil to get it to the consistency you would like. If you use all arugula, it will be fairly peppery, but half spinach will make it quite mild.

6 to 8 servings
20 minutes prep time

Arugula Pesto as a spread for bread

4 cups packed arugula leaves
OR 2 cups packed arugula leaves
and 2 cups packed spinach leaves
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 head garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/3 cup sunflower seed (or olive) oil
salt & pepper to taste

 Wash the arugula well in cold water, and pull off the leaves, discarding the stalks and any tough stems. If you are using spinach, wash it well and pick it over. Drain the arugula (and spinach) thoroughly.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, until lightly browned. Stir frequently. Turn them out onto a plate to cool as soon as they are toasted.

Peel and trim the garlic cloves. Grate the cheese.

Put the greens, pumpkin seeds, garlic and cheese into a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add the sunflower seed oil, and process again until smoothly blended. Stop and scrape down the sides of the processor as needed.

Serve with pasta, gnocchi, potatoes, or generally use it in the same way you would use basil pesto.




Last year at this time I made Chicken with Herb Dumplings and  Curried Roasted Parsnip & Apple Soup.

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