Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Arugula Pesto!

By Madeleine Dee

This pesto is delicious as a marinade for fish, shellfish, and chicken, or as a light and healthy sauce tossed with warm pasta. Try thinning it out and using it as salad dressing. 
Don’t worry too much about the measurements – they’re simply a guide from which to start creating your perfect pesto!

Pesto is traditionally made with basil, but I love the fresh, peppery punch that arugula brings to the party. It also normally contains pine nuts instead of walnuts and no lemon, so I’m being naughty. But give it a try – you may never go back to classic basil pesto again!

Madeleine Dee's Arugula Pesto
4-5 cups fresh arugula, NOT packed down (3-4 man handfuls or 4-5 dainty lady handfuls)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup walnuts (as fresh as possible)
5 cloves roasted garlic (or raw if you want a spicy bite!)

1. Dip your fresh arugula in slowly-boiling water for about 10-15 seconds, then immediately remove it and dunk it into a bowl of ice water. (This process ensures that the green in the arugula will both create a vivid color for the final pesto product AND keep the pesto from turning brown during the next few days!)                                                                                                                                     

2. Drain the arugula and add it to your blender or food processor with the Parmesan, lemon, salt, pepper, walnuts, and garlic. Start to puree while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. When finished, the pesto will be smooth and a beautiful shade of green. Adjust the seasoning as you please. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for later!

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Executive Chef and Owner of No Place Like Home in Louisville, KY. Writer, actress, chef, professional cook and professional eater.