We are finally enjoying warmer spring days that let us know that summer is just around the corner. Although it is still a little early mid-May to plant here in Michigan, at least our yard is turning green, trees are budding, and folks are flocking to local nurseries. As the temperatures warm and we can get out more, I tend to start making lighter meals for dinner, including vegetable-based pasta dishes such as this one. When folks think of pesto sauce, they often believe that it has to be made from basil, but many other ingredients can be used to create a delicious creamy pesto sauce.
The combination of the green arugula pesto and red sweet cherry tomatoes in this recipe is gorgeous to look at and a great contrast in flavors. I often make this pasta in the summer, using baby arugula from my garden. I find that fresh-picked garden arugula has a more robust flavor than the store-bought variety, but both are wonderful to use to make pesto. This pasta has a great fresh, peppery taste, and it is one of my favorite, easy pasta dishes to make for a quick meal. You could use basil, parsley, kale, spinach, or a combination of any of these instead of the arugula as well. This sauce is also delicious on roasted chicken or grilled meat.
Deborah Mele 2021
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic Cloves - Finely Chopped
- 3-4 Cups Fresh, Washed Arugula, or about 2 Bunches
- Salt & Pepper - To Taste
- Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1/2 Cups Ripe Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
- 1 Pound Bow Tie Pasta
- Extra Grated Parmesan Cheese For Serving If Desired
- In a food processor, combine the garlic, arugula, half the pine nuts and the oil and process until finely chopped.
- Add the grated Parmesan, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired, and pulse.
- Adding just a few tablespoons at a time drizzle in the chicken broth until the sauce is thick and emulsified. (You shouldn't need too much of the broth.)
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
- Drain, reserving a small amount of the pasta water in a cup.
- In the pasta pot, combine the hot pasta, arugula sauce, the cherry tomatoes and the remaining pine nuts.
- Cook briefly over medium heat until well mixed, adding just a little of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry.
- Serve hot, topped with shaved or grated parmesan cheese if desired.