This pesto is a fresh take on the Italian classic. A beautiful, bright green, this pesto is zesty, fierce, peppery and not for the faint of heart. While keeping the tradition of the basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, olive oil and garlic, I decided to add some more bitter and bold arugula to give it some pop.
The key to excellent pesto is excellent ingredients. As simple as that. So when you’re out shopping for ingredients try to look for good quality extra-virgin olive oil, artisan cheese and most of all, fresh greens. The freshness is what gives the light, earthy taste with all the vibrant green color. I would recommend this sauce on a dish paired with something a little sweeter to balance out the bitterness of the arugula. May I suggest some pasta with this palate-teasing pesto and some sweet, ripe tomatoes to counterbalance. Plus green pesto with bright, red tomatoes look absolutely beautiful!
So traditionally pesto is made with a mortar, but sadly, most of us simply don’t have the time to hand grind the ingredients. By all means, if you can, I highly suggest giving the traditional method a try. Tell me how it goes! In fact, the word “pesto” is derived from the Italian verb “pestare” which means to pound or crush. Remind you of a mortar and pestle?
One last note, I say to add the olive oil in last(not in the food processor) because the high-speed blades of the processor make the olive oil bitter. If you want to know the science behind it, here’s a good read: http://summertomato.com/the-bitter-truth-about-olive-oil/ Therefore, remember to NOT ADD THE OLIVE OIL IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR! Now to the recipe!
Arugla Basil Pesto
–2 tbsp. pine nuts
-3 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 1/2 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves (discard stems)
-1 1/2 c. loosely packed fresh arugula leaves (discard stems)
-1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
-6 tbsp. high-quality olive oil
-good dash of salt
1. Grind pine nuts and garlic cloves until minced in food processor
2. Add in basil and arugula and blend until fine, add in salt and cheese until combined
3. transfer mixture into bowl and slowly mix-in olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time