Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pasta with Arugula Pepita Pesto

So, I love pesto, and I love pepitas, and I wondered, how do they work together? I had a package of baby arugula in the fridge, and I thought, well, maybe that'll work too. Let's see the results.

                                              Arugula Pesto with Kitchen Sink Sangria

Summer Pasta with Arugula Pepita Pesto (serves 4-6)
For the pesto: 
  • 8 oz baby arugula 
  • 1/4 C pepitas, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 Tbs parmesan
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
1. If not already toasted, toast the pepitas in a skillet til aromatic
2. In a food processor, pulse the arugula and pepitas in small batches. Gradually add olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
3. Add lemon, parmesan, salt, pepper, mix and add more olive oil as needed.
4. Taste, add additional salt, pepper, lemon and/or parmesan if needed. 
5. Pulse again, set aside. You should have this bright beautiful greenness: 

For the Summer Pasta:
  • 1 batch arugula pesto
  • 1/2 lb pasta (I used lemon pepper pappardelle
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
1. Boil the water for the pasta
2. Heat some olive oil in a large wok or skillet. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add zucchini, and stir frequently season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, begin cooking the pasta. Cook the pasta until not quite done. Reserve the cooking liquid from the pasta.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving the water, and add to the pasta along with the tomatoes. Toss over medium heat. Slowly add the pesto, incorporating some of the pasta cooking water to thin out the the sauce and add flavor. Continue adding pesto and and pasta water until pasta is well coated and pesto has achieved desired texture. Add crumbled feta. toss, and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

                                                         Here's the pasta I used.

                                                   Why am I always making green food?

Verdict? This pesto has entirely different flavors depending on whether it's eaten immediately or the next day. When eaten immediately, it has a zesty peppery kick with limited pepita flavor. When served left over, it develops a nutty, buttery flavor. Unlike basil pesto, this maintains it's beautiful bright green color without fading to a dull gray green. Because it retains it's color, it would be perfect for a pasta salad. I definitely preferred this heated up as leftovers the next day. This recipe has a lot of potential.


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