Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Arugula Pesto

I was craving pesto the other day, but I didn't want to pay as much as they were charging for the fresh basil at the grocery store. So, until spring gets here, I decided to become adaptable. I looked in the vegetable drawer of my fridge and discovered a big bag of arugula left over from an Italian Salad I made for a friend last week. There were only a few mildly yellow leaves that I tossed out, but I have heard you can make pesto, which quite simply means that you crush things in a mortar with a pestle to make a sauce. However, I prefer to use my Cuisinart for most of those kinds of things. So, I tossed in the Arugula with some olive oil, pine nuts and Pecorino Romano Cheese and it turned out divine! I love Arugula's peppery bite and when it is paired with the salty cheese, the flavor just pops! So, I am passing on the recipe for you to use in case you have the winter doldrums too! My son Stephen promptly made us bacon, tomato and arugula pesto sandwiches (mine was on gluten free Udi's bread) and they were incredibly good. I haven't tried it on pasta yet - that's next!

Arugula Pesto

4 cups of baby Arugula, washed
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese (already grated and packed tightly into the measuring cup)
1/4 cup Olive Oil plus additional 2 Tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt if necessary

Place Arugula, Pine Nuts, Cheese and Olive Oil in the Cuisinart or other food processor or blender and mix until finely blended. Taste and add salt if necessary. Check texture and if you want it to be creamier, add the extra olive oil.

Serve as a sandwich or bruschetta spread, on pasta or as a dip. Enjoy!

Five Element Analysis

Arugula is a bitter salad green so it is primarily a Fire Food. The Olive Oil adds the Wood Element, the Pine Nuts bring in the Water Element. The cheese contributes the Metal Element with its' pungent Umami flavor. Since this is a sauce, it is served with other foods like bread or pasta bringing in more Wood or with Tomatoes, which add more Fire or Bacon or Ham, which contribute more Water. Only the Earth Element is missing and needs to be added for some balance so be sure to add something sweet to round off the meal.

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