My most recent post was for a polenta dish that was topped with an arugula salad. Well, I had a bit of arugula leftover and very quickly started brainstorming ways I could use it. I really love arugula and have only started seeking it out in the past couple of years. First, some quick information about arugula. It is an annual plant and the leaves are usually what are eaten (although apparently the fruit is edible). The leaves are characterized by their peppery taste and they are rich in vitamin C and potassium.
What a chose to make with my leftover arugula was an arugula pesto based off of how I usually make basil pesto. I then took my arugula pesto and combined it with pasta and roasted cherry tomatoes for a quick and satisfying Sunday night dinner.
I was thrilled to share this dish with two of my favorite people: my boyfriend, Chris and my cousin (and Loyola University freshman), Grace.
Arugula Pesto Pasta with Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon almonds, toasted (or any other toasted nut you like—pine nuts are pretty standard or you could use shelled walnuts)
2 cups arugula leaves, tightly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, to taste
1-2 tablespoons goat cheese (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3/4 pound pasta of choice
First, start cooking your pasta (according to package) and reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.
Toast the almonds in a skillet until fragrant. Place garlic cloves in a food processor, turn on and run until garlic is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the almonds. Turn on the machine and process until they are finely ground. Scrape down the bowl again and add the arugula and salt. Pulse until the arugula is finely chopped. Turn on the machine and run while you slowly drizzle in the olive oil from the top. Stop the machine and make sure you scrape down the sides one more time before adding the Parmesan and running the machine until the cheese is well incorporated.
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast until the tomatoes collapse, about 15 minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, add as much of the pesto as you would like, the goat cheese (optional), and the roasted tomatoes. Add the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time just to thin things out a little bit. Add as much as you would like.