Monday, December 5, 2011

Homemade Arugula Pesto: In 3 Easy Steps

Last week I was lucky to be gifted a pound of fresh organic Arugula grown at the Plant, a vertical farm in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. As a volunteer/intern it's a nice little perk for some fun work.

Here's how I preserved my precious pound of Arugula...

The key ingredients: Here's my fresh organic Arugula and some homegrown hardneck garlic which I harvested a few months ago. I like growing a garlic called "Music", it's easy to grow, stores well (for at least 9 months) and I love the intense flavor. Once you start growing your own garlic you'll never go back to the store bought stuff!

Arugula Pesto Ingredients:

4 cups of Arugula which is approximately a 1/2 lb.
1 cup shaved Asiago cheese
10 to 12 cloves of garlic with their skins on for toasting
1 cup of walnuts

1 fresh lemon

1 tsp. Kosher salt

Pepper to taste


1) Toast walnuts in heavy pan till golden brown.

2) Separate garlic cloves with skins on and toast in a heavy pan for about 10 minutes, let cool, then remove skins.

3) Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix till smooth and creamy.

You can enjoy your pesto now or freeze it for later use. Here's how I prepared mine for the freezer:

I used styrofoam egg cartons to freeze my pesto. This works well when you don't have an extra ice cube tray handy.

I froze my pesto in the freezer overnight (10 hours) and the next morning I packaged them. I found that the pesto cubes released from the carton easily when you soaked the bottom in warm water for about 5 minutes. Egg cartons are also great for making ice cubes or freezing herbs.

You can also freeze your pesto in a plastic bag. Just lay it flat on a cookie sheet or small pan till frozen. It's easy to store, just break off what you need then place it back in the freezer.

Hope you'll try this delicious recipe. Thank you Carla for sharing your organic Arugula!


H2 said...

Debbie, that pasta looks mouthwatering. How does the pesto hold up after freezing?

Debbie said...

I took a peek and the pesto looks frozen and solid. We're looking forward to some tasty meals. I plan on using this in soups too.