I think we can all agree that basil pesto is one of the world’s great foods. It’s so great that it’s easy to forget about all the other interesting variations of the sauce. This past year for the blog I’ve made it with Artichoke and Lemons, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Almonds, a mix of Olives, as well as the traditional, and I’m just getting started. Pesto sauce adds a healthy burst of flavor to whatever it touches so I’m always looking for new ideas.
This pesto won’t replace the traditional version, but it’s a nice change of pace. It has a grassy scent and is a little less pungent than classic basil pesto. I used baby arugula, which has a more subtle peppery zing than the mature greens. It just tastes like spring to me.
- 1 5oz bag or tub of baby arugula
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
- 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese
- juice of 1 lemon
- sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil
- Put all the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Stuff the arugula down, if necessary.
- Pulse the machine until the arugula breaks down, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice, and then drizzle in the oil until you have a smooth sauce. Taste the pesto and adjust the seasonings if you need to.
- Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Notes: You could substitute just about any nut you like for the pine nuts.
In the spirit of Minimal Monday I’m going to use the pesto as a dipping sauce for bread. Take a couple of tablespoons of the arugula pesto and whisk it with more olive oil until it has a good dipping consistency. Add a dash of sherry vinegar and pour into a shallow bowl or plate. It’s kind of like a salad in dip form.
When you’re not using it as a dipping sauce, spread it on fish before baking or broiling, or toss it with cold pasta and veggies to make a springtime pasta salad.