I adore arugula – I eat it in salads, I put it in sandwiches, I chop it up and put it on top of pasta instead of parsley... So when I read a tantalizing description from Antonia and her Daughters by Marlena de Blasi about pesto made with wild arugula (or rucola, as the Italians call it) – I knew I had to make it.
Now, my version differs quite a bit from Marlena's. For starters, she made hers using a mortar and pestle and it had walnuts and just boiled new potatoes.
However, the first time I decided to make this, I didn't have any walnuts or potatoes handy. The closest thing I had to either pine nuts (the traditional nut used with pesto) or walnuts were slivered almonds. So in they went and I have to say that everything worked fantastically well. I think I might even like it better than basil pesto. And since I always have arugula on hand, it's a snap to whip up this dish.
1 packed cup of arugula leaves
1 cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove (or if warding off vampires, use 3, like I do :))
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1. Place garlic clove, slivered almonds, and parmesan cheese in food processor and pulse until a rough paste.
2. Add arugula leaves and pulse until well blended.
3. As the leaves are blending, slowly stream olive oil and then lemon juice through the tube and incorporate until smooth.
4. Lastly, as the entire mixture is blending, add the salt.
Enjoy over pasta, as a spread on a crostini or on warm, crusty bread.