Pecan and Arugula Pesto

One year for Christmas my aunt sent me this fabulous Rachel Ray cookbook.  I love Rachel Ray–Italian flare and usually fairly simple lots of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil-seems to be her favorite thing).   This particular cookbook was called Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats and is supposed to contain 365 different recipes, one for each day of the year.  The way she accomplishes that is having a few base recipes and then making substitutions to change the dish.  And bonus, each meal is only supposed to take about 30 minutes to prepare!  This recipe I found as part of a trio of 3 unusual pestos.  This is the only one I’ve tried but the other two sound intriguing too: a mint/parsley/pistachio pesto and walnut/parsley/rosemary pesto.  I love pesto and have been on a pesto kick lately.  Derek declared he’s kind of tired of pesto, but I just felt like pesto tonight, so I went with a non-traditional pesto, and it seemed to work out okay.

PECAN ARUGULA PESTO

Ingredients:

  • salt
  • 1 lb linguine or fettuccine
  • 1 C pecan pieces
  • 1/2 C EVOO
  • 1/2 lb halved skinny green beans
  • 1/2 C matchstick carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 C arugula leaves
  • 1/4-1/3 C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some to pass on the table
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pepper
  • 4 scallions, sliced

Directions:

  1.   Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to directions.
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat.  Add pecan pieces and toast for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove nuts from pan and cool.
  4. Raise heat a bit.  Add 2 Tbsp EVOO.
  5. Cook green beans and carrots for 2-3 minutes in an inch of boiling salted water.  Drain veggies and add to skillet with EVOO.
  6. Add garlic to skillet and cook all for about 3 minutes.
  7. In food processor, grind 1/2 the nuts, arugula, cheese, and 1/3 C EVOO until paste forms.  Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  8. Add pesto and scallions to skillet.  Drain pasta and toss pasta in pesto mixture.
  9. Top with remaining nuts and cheese.

*I generally serve this with sliced grilled chicken breast that has been marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette.

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