|A mere handful of arugula and parsley.|
|The arugula and parsley base with the cheese ready to be mixed in.|
Basically it is the same recipe as regular basil pesto except switch out the basil for one cup arugula and one cup parsley then add in a 1/3 cup of ricotta to get the creaminess. I whipped up a batch for dinner tonight. It came out this lovely light pea green color; much lighter than basil pesto.
1/4 cup pine nuts (you could also use walnuts, pecans or almonds)
3 medium garlic cloves
1 cup packed fresh arugula leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
7 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound of pasta
- Toast the nuts in a small heavy skillet. Don't add oil, just do it dry. Pine nuts in particular will go from toast to burnt very quickly so use low heat and mix them around frequently until they are golden brown and fragrant. It shouldn't take more than 4-5 minutes. Set the nuts aside to cool.
- Using the same skillet brown the garlic with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Pick the parsley leaves off the stems and take the rib out of the arugula. All you want are nice tender dark green bits.
- Next bruise the arugula and parsley to bring out their flavor. Place the arugula and parsley in a large zip-lock bag and seal it most of the way. You want to leave a little opening for air to escape. Now the fun part, use the flat side of a meat pounder or a rolling pin to bruise the basil. You will know when you are done when all the basil has turned a darker, wet looking green color.
- Combine the pine nuts, garlic, arugula, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 6 tablespoons of olive oil in the food processor. Process until smooth. You can also use a blender for this part. Or if you are really dedicated do it the old fashioned way with a mortar and pestle. Once everything is smooth transfer your basil mixture to a small bowl and stir in the ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
- Now at this point you can package and freeze your pesto if you like. Some folks like to freeze it in ice-cube trays so they can pop a cube out to throw in a soup or season up a sauce. I like to put mine in small freezer bags.
You can also keep pesto in the fridge by covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Make sure to press the plastic wrap right down onto the top of the pesto so there is not air to oxidize and lose flavor. The recipe says it will keep this way for up to three days. If you want to eat that pesto right now, continue on to step seven.
- Bring four quarts of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add the tablespoon of salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Then reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. I used thin spaghetti because I like that it cooks in just 7 minutes but use whatever pasta you fancy. Rotini is particularly nice because it has lots of nooks and crannies to hold the sauce.
- Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water in with the pesto, then toss the pasta with the pesto. Add a little more of the pasta water if needed to get the pesto to distribute evenly. You can serve this hot or let it cool to room temperature.