California Walnut and Arugula Pesto

California Walnut and Arugula Pesto

Pesto isn't just made for pasta, be sure to try it on fresh seasonal vegetables.  If you are not using the pesto immediately, transfer it to a jar, cover the surface with a film of olive oil, cap the jar and refrigerate.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, stems removed (1 large bunch)
  • 1 cup California walnuts, toasted
  • 2 cups (about 1 1/2 ounces) packed arugula leaves, stems trimmed
  • 3/4 - 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Finely grated zest of half a lemon (about 1 teaspoon)

Directions

  1. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, drop in the basil leaves and blanch for about 10 seconds. Drain well, then plunge the basil leaves into ice water. Pour into a colander and drain again, then gently squeeze the leaves by handfuls to remove excess moisture.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the blanched basil, the walnuts and arugula. With the machine on, gradually add 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the garlic and Parmesan cheese and process until blended. Add the remaining oil in a thin stream. If the pesto is quite stiff, drizzle in some additional olive oil. Season to taste with salt, then add the lemon zest and process until blended.
  3. If you are not using the pesto immediately, transfer it to a jar, cover the surface with a film of olive oil, cap the jar and refrigerate. At serving time, scoop out the amount you need. If the pesto seems thick, at this point it may be thinned with some pasta cooking water.
  4. Refrigerate any unused pesto in a capped jar, its surface covered with a film of olive oil.