Garden Rocket Pesto x2

I remember watching Jamie Oliver years ago, always preparing salads and garnishing dishes with a magical green called rocket. It turns out, rocket is actually my favorite garden green. Otherwise known as arugula, this green packs in the most flavor per leaf in my opinion. It's not bitter like escarole or too bland like iceburg lettuce, instead it's rather peppery with a good bite. During the CSA days, I anticipated each bunch of arugula more than anything else.

Over the past weekend, I was assigned the job of cooking for a pack of 10 hungry friends (to keep them nourished before a big holiday party) and was lucky enough to have a cooking partner who also shares my love of rocket/arugula. Making pesto is extremely simple and quick if you have a food processor. I usually just eyeball my ingredients to taste and consistency as I've made pesto far too many times at this point.

As a rough guide...
  • 4 cups of packed arugula leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup (packed) freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Once your pesto has a smooth consistency, toss with your favorite cooked pasta. For added flavor and texture, we sauteed a pint of grape tomatoes and tossed them in as well. We served this with a side of focaccia and a small bonus portion of very tasty sage pumpkin pasta that was leftover from the night before.

It's quite safe to say that our plates were a smashing success as most people were looking for seconds and maybe even thirds. I think we provided enough energy to keep everyone going until 4 am so we could all sing in holiday cheer.

The next day: x2

So we had some left over arugula and made another batch the following night substituting toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts.

X2 was served with a Tuscan bread salad made with a nice crusty loaf of organic rustic Italian courtesy of Amy's in Chelsea Market. The main flavor component in this salad is the lemon garlic vinaigrette. We ran low on oil and the bread in the salad was slightly on the dry side but still tasty with tomatoes, onion and cucumber.

So much good food & good times.

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