Arugula pesto–two ways

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Today we got a boatload of greens in our CSA share—‘tis the season, of course, until more things start coming into season.  We got romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, mint, and Swiss chard.  I decided to use the arugula to make a pesto.  Since I have so much oregano and cilantro coming up in my garden right now, I decided to make two flavors of arugula pesto, one with each herb in it.

I don’t have a lot of experience with arugula outside of eating it sprinkled on pizza.  I love pestos of all kinds, though, so I thought it would be a great experiment to make arugula pesto, and a chance to use up more herbs before they all bolt in this 90+ degree heat we’re having.  The thunderstorm we got tonight, coupled with tomorrow’s forecast high in the low 80s, may buy me a day or two before I have to make a final pre-bolt harvest for freezing.  Then I’ll let the cilantro bolt and re-seed, and I’ll have it again next year!

The pesto is super-duper easy to make.  All you have to do is wash and dry the arugula and throw it in a food processor with some walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, herbs of choice, and olive oil.  Give it a whirl and ta da!  Beautiful verdant pesto!  I got about 1 ½ pints out of each batch, and froze the majority of it.

For dinner tonight, I found one package of fresh pasta from last year’s CSA share in the freezer, so I pulled it out to cover with the pesto and some crumbled goat cheese.  I roasted a head of cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and pepper, made a huge salad with the romaine lettuce we got today, and finished it off with some herbed monkey bread I made Sunday.

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What to do with the rest of the share?  I chopped and froze the chard.  I plan to make creamed spinach later this week, and the mint?  I think a raspberry mint tart is in order.  I still have a few frozen raspberries picked from the community garden last fall.  Time to clean out freezer space for this year’s bounty.

It was a very fine meal, and the bulk of it was locally produced.  Once again, my goal this summer and fall is to source at least 50% of my food locally.  I didn’t keep records of my meals last year, but I know for most of the summer and fall well over 50% of the food we ate was from the CSA or our own garden.  About the only thing I’ll have to buy at the grocery store is chocolate!

Arugula and oregano pesto  (makes about 1 1/2 pints)

5 ounces arugula

1/3 cup walnuts

4 large garlic cloves

1 ounce oregano

2/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Throw everything in a food processor and process until you have a smooth pesto, adding more olive oil if you want a thinner consistency.  Taste and add more salt, if needed.  At this point you can put the pesto into jars and freeze.  Or enjoy it immediately and slather it on pasta, bread, stuff it into mushroom caps, or spread it on a pizza!

Arugula and cilantro pesto (makes about 1/2 pints)

5 ounces arugula

1/3 cup walnuts

4 large garlic cloves

1 ounce cilantro

2/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Throw everything in a food processor and process until you have a smooth pesto, adding more olive oil if you want a thinner consistency.  Taste and add more salt, if needed.  At this point you can put the pesto into jars and freeze.  Or use it immediately and make a pesto-tamale pie, Tex-Mex tortellini casserole, or just use it as a dip for tortilla chips (this is REALLY good).

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2 Responses to Arugula pesto–two ways

  1. Pingback: Tomato and arugula pesto focaccia | the blonde tressed runner

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