Look at that lovely nest of bright spring-green happiness! The color of the pesto is everything you would expect, but one bite will tell you that you’re not dealing with the usual pesto suspect, basil. When it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, chances are the grocery store basil is grown in a warmer clime and then trucked or flown hundreds of miles to your local grocery store.
When locally grown basil is out of season, it’s an ideal time to swap it for the cold weather nutritional power-house that arugula is. And, when we do it, let’s also marvel at the peppery, complex, rich, nutty contribution that arugula will make to your pesto which also includes the finest, most nutritious extra virgin olive oil in the world.
12 ounces baby arugula washed and spun dry
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup hulled, toasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper and salt if used (depending on how salted your pasta water is)
2/3 cup Olive Us Ultra Premium Extra Virgin olive oil (i.e. – Picual, Hojiblanca, etc.)
Cook your pasta based on the instructions.
Meanwhile, combine arugula, garlic, lemon juice, half of the cheese, pumpkin seeds, in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and process until evenly blended until finely processed. No more than a minute tops. Season well with salt (if using) and freshly ground black pepper.
Drain pasta and toss with the arugula pesto and mix until evenly combined. Serve immediately with reserved cheese sprinkled on top.