Cook with What's in Season: Arugula, Spring and Fall

Our weekly farmers' market got going here in Connecticut a few weeks ago.  But I have to say, there wasn’t an awful lot of food to buy. The trusty maple syrup vendor was there, sharing space with the cheese producer. You could still buy wool (not that I was too interested in knitting a sweater in May!). Many of the farmers brought a bit of the farm with them, with plants and seedlings to sell. But that's not what I truly want from a farmer’s market—where is the produce?

And then last week, a few farmers actually had lettuces. There was green leaf, red curly leaf, bags of spinach, and more than a few bags of peppery arugula. The produce gods were listening to me!  I bought a few heads of buttery, curly red lettuce, and a large bagful of arugula. So, needless to say, there has been a lot of salad at my house this week. But salad, as fresh and delicious as it may be, can get a bit old. I gathered together what was left of the arugula and made a pesto.

Although many consider arugula to be simply a salad green, because of its peppery flavor it has an almost herbaceous quality, lending itself well to pesto.  Beautifully green and spicy, but not too pungent, this pesto is a nice alternative to the standard basil pesto.  If you find arugula a bit too strong in flavor, make this pesto with half arugula, half spinach for a more mild presence.

This pesto is delicious over tagliatelle or fettuccine noodles.  As a side dish, serve it over orzo—a rice-shaped pasta.

Arugula Pesto

4 cups arugula, cleaned, stemmed, and packed
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Blend arugula, nuts, and cheese in a food processor or blender until smooth.  With the machine still running, slowly add in the olive oil, and process until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over hot pasta.


Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog,

- 9 Tips for Smart Farmers' Market Shopping

- See all of Adrienne's blog posts here

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