If you want to feel confident about your gardening abilities, plant arugula. When we picked up a six pack of cute little arugula plants back in early April we had no clue that they'd grow like weeds. No joke, we harvested some leaves on a Saturday morning, and went back to continue our gardening on Sunday afternoon only to see that new leaves had cropped up overnight. If you can eat it fast enough and not let it go to seed, you could skip the bag of arugula at the supermarket for a long long time.
The best part about having homegrown greens is that they stay fresh FOREVER once you harvest them. Some are even going 4-weeks strong post pick. Makes you wonder about those supermarket bags that turn after a week. We've plucked plenty of salad-worthy arugula but when it started to really pile up in our fridge, I decided it was time to try something new.
So what to do with the arugula surplus? I turned to Giada De Laurentiis for her Arugula Pesto recipe. Word to the wise - Arugula is a peppery and bitter green. If that isn't your bag, then this pesto isn't for you. I personally love the flavor and the fresh bite but if you side with my father and father-in-law on your dislike of arugula, I encourage you to mosey along. Maybe an Almond Cake is more your bag?
One important thing I've learned in all my arugula consumption: The stems are bitter - If you don't want any additional bite, make sure you remove the 1/4 inch stem on the leaves. That doesn't mean you need to strip the leaves off top to bottom. Just the extra bit at the base.
If you love arugula, but would like to cut the flavor with another green, this recipe for Arugula Mint Pesto by Bon Appétit looks tasty. Use this pesto in any way that you'd use a regular basil pesto - As a spread for sandwiches, sauce for pizza or lasagna, or even to dress up some roasted veggies.
by Giada De Laurentiis, "Everyday italian"
(Makes 1 cup)
- 2 cups packed fresh arugula
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
1. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the arugula and garlic until finely chopped.
2. With the machine running, gradually add the oil, processing until well blended.
3. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.