Arugula Pesto Salad

23 Aug

I made this for a picnic at the beach. For a fresh light flavor, I decided to go for an arugula pesto instead of traditional basil.  My issue with making pesto- is that it always makes way too much.  To combat this, you can half the recipe below. Or you can freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays and defrost later (I’ve seen Giada do this.)  For the beach I made this with whole wheat spiral pasta. For lunch this week, I made w. wheatberries, which I find more filling and flavorful- cribbing the idea from 101 cookbooks.  Another thing about pasta salad- which I learned from Ina- is that you should add the dressing while the pasta is hot- to absorb the flavors.

This pesto recipe- is based off a Marcella Hazan- I just used arugula instead of basil. Feel free to make w. either. Or try another green. I’ve made kale pesto- seen recipes for cilantro pesto- and have even had celery pesto. The interesting thing about Marcella’s method, is that she adds oil in the beginning– instead of gradually as mixer is running. Then she hand mixes in the cheese. I approve.

*I forgot to read the fine print on this before- but if you are freezing- do so before adding the cheese & butter. Then add those once defrosted.

Pesto:
2 cups arugula tightly packed (use the good stuff, fresh on stems, much more flavor than those lose greens in a box- this was 2 small bunches) or basil
1/2 cup olive oil [i definitely used less- I think 1/3 cup]
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, chop before putting in food processor
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
3 tablespoons fresh grated romano [i didn’t have any, so left out]
3 tablespoons softened butter [I probably used 1 tablespoon]
[I added fresh lemon juice- probably half a lemon]

Put arugula, olive oil, pine nuts in a food processor. Mix briefly until a consistent consistency. Put in bowl. Fold in cheese. Add salt & pepper to taste. Mix in butter. Squeeze w. fresh lemon juice.

Salad:
1 cup wheatberries
3 cups water
heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved*
olives
pepper (i used a “yellowish” one- it was actually labeled that way at co-op which i thought was pretty funny)
fresh mozzarella- i like the mini balls (twss), bocconcini
lemon

To make wheatberries.  Boil 3 cups salted water. Add wheatberries. Simmer uncovered. I had before posted 45 mins- but this was done in maybe 30 mins. So I’d say start checking at 25 mins. Wheatberries get al dente and chewy. Just try it.  Drain wheatberries- while hot- add a few heaping spoons of pesto. Mix up. Add chopped tomatoes, peppers, olives. When cooled a bit, add cheese. Squeeze w. fresh lemon juice. Additional salt & pepper to taste.

*Cooking channel viewers (different from Food Network) know-  Chuck, of the show Chuck’s Day Off– from Montreal, very easy on the eyes. Anyway… he has a trick for cutting cherry tomatoes. It wasn’t as easy as it looked on TV- but with some practice, it could be. Take one plate, turn it upside down, place on counter. Spread the tomatoes on top (helps if the plates have that little rim underneath). Put another plate, right side up, on top of the tomatoes. Hold top plate down– take a serrated knife- and go right through all the tomatoes.

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One Response to “Arugula Pesto Salad”

  1. Anonymous August 29, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Snacko! Of course, anonymous has no birthdate (or any identifier, for that matter) but the mysterious one still wishes this website all the best.

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