Arugula is one of my favourite greens. I love its peppery bitterness, and it seems to go with just about anything. I buy baby arugula nearly every week and use it in everything from salads to soups to sauces, as well as (obviously) pesto.
Making your own pesto is exceptionally easy, especially if you have a food processor or blender that can do most of the work for you. Just a few seconds to pulse the arugula, walnuts and garlic into a paste, then finish by stirring in some freshly grated parmesan, lemon juice and seasoning, and your sauce is ready to go.
As with anything that contains fresh garlic, the garlicky flavour will get stronger as it sits, so don’t worry if it isn’t strong right away – I know from experience, as I’ve added additional garlic to mine before and regretted it later when its flavoured overpowered everything else. I also suggest that you use baby arugula in this recipe, as full-grown arugula may end up making the end result a bit too bitter.
I chose to serve this pesto with pasta and top it with shaved parmesan and ground aleppo pepper (which I can’t get enough of lately, by the way, and not just for its pretty pink colour), and it was just as delicious leftover the next day. I actually shredded some leftover roasted chicken into the mixture as well, and it made an amazingly satisfying second-day meal.
The pesto will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. I’ve served it with pasta today, but it’s equally tasty as a dip for chips or crackers, spread on sandwiches, used as a pizza sauce, or spooned over roasted chicken breasts. Enjoy!
- 2 cups packed baby arugula
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine arugula, walnuts, lemon zest and garlic and pulse until a paste forms. With the machine running, pour olive oil in through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream and continue processing until combined.
- Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lemon juice, parmesan, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve as desired (e.g. on pasta, bread, chicken, etc.), and keep any leftover pesto covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.