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Cooking the Book: Linguine with Arugula-Mint Pesto

2012 May 9

This stuff tastes like spring!

Here’s a great alternative to traditional pesto if your basil isn’t big enough to hack into (or if it just doesn’t look great in the store). And coming from someone who is, ahem, a little bit of a pesto purist, that’s saying a lot (I usually won’t even permit walnuts running around in there instead of pine nuts).

The folks at America’s Test Kitchen offer up a slightly weird garlic prep technique, but it works. I might have to try this for hummus, especially when I don’t have roasted garlic on hand and don’t want the breath-bustingness of full-strength raw garlic.

The Good

This one is great for a weeknight with fast, easy prep that’s easy to clean up. You can even make the pesto in advance, which I did, to have on hand for a quick meal. It posibly even tasted better for doing that, just like regular basil pesto

The Bad

Nothing I can think of. Really!

The Leftovers

When we were in the “what are we having for dinner?” phase of the evening, Mr. Kitchenette was hoping for some meaty protein to put on top of his pasta (there wasn’t anything on hand so he had to suck it up). This is, admittedly, a bit of a carb-fest. While we agreed it didn’t necessarily need it, you could satisfy a similar craving with some grilled chicken (his thought) or blackened shrimp (my thought).

While there were no actual leftovers, putting some protein on top might also fill you up faster.

Linguine with Arugula-Mint Pesto

Serves 2

From Cooking for 2, 2011

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

4 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)

3/4 cups tightly packed fresh mint leaves

2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt

3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces linguine

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Method

Toast garlic in small skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color of clove deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let garlic cool slightly, then peel and chop.

Process garlic, arugula, mint, walnuts, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and one tablespoon of salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water then drain pasta and return to pot.

Add pesto and Parmesan to pasta and toss to combine, adjusting sauce consistency with reserved pasta cooking water as desired. Season with salt to taste and serve with extra Parmesan.

One Response leave one →
  1. KELSEY permalink
    July 16, 2012

    HI THERE!
    I JUST MADE YOUR RECIPE! I LOVED IT, BUT I ADDED 1 TSP. TOO MUCH OF THE CRUSHED RED PEPPER, SINCE I LOVE HEAT..BUT MY DAUGHTER DIDN’T! I ALSO USED FRESH BASIL FROM MY GARDEN(ALONG WITH THE ARUGULA).

    I HAVE TO MUCH ARUGULA, NOT SURE HOW TO USE IT ALL UP.
    I WONDER IF IT WOULD FREEZE WELL AFTER WASHED AND DRIED OFF, OR IF I MADE PESTO AND THEN FREEZED IT FOR MONTHS TO COME DURING WINTER TIME??

    IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, I’D LOVE TO KNOW! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE RECIPE.

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