It’s November and that means we turn our clocks back, days get shorter, nights colder, and (in my books) Christmas songs spew from speakers.
It also means that I am well behind in turning over my garden. This year, I couldn’t bare to part with my green goods only because they kept producing well into October. The tomatoes continued to dangle off their vines but with no signs of ripening. So, I finally decided their time was up and pulled tons of green tomatoes and a few small yellow peppers. A sad day, but necessary before the cold nights freeze the vines.
To my surprise, and I guess you could call it neglect, there, in the corner of my garden underneath an overgrown tomato bush, was tons of arugula. I know that arugula loves cooler climates, but I had no idea how much I had grown in the summer.
I pulled up arugula as if it were weeds. Which isn’t a bad problem to have! But I was positive I didn’t want to be eating arugula salads for two weeks straight. We’re coming into November, people! Salad’s are for summers.
On a cold November night all I want it a warm toasty fire and a bowl of pasta. Sorry but, it’s the truth.
Arugula makes for a great alternative to your usual basil pesto. Especially homegrown arugula in the cooler months. Arugula is already a naturally peppery green. When grown in cooler soils it tends to pack even more of that peppery punch! Don’t be afraid to grow your arugula in the fall. All it needs is well draining soil and sunlights – vualah! You’ll be eating your own homemade pesto straight from the garden (that is, in four weeks when your arugula sprouts).
Taking up shelter right next to the arugula roots.
Eggplant flowers. Unfortunately, it’s too cold for these guys. They love warm climates.
Strawberry plant still flowering. No signs of life (sigh).
Some heirloom tomatoes still hanging on.
My recipe was based on the pure fact that I was craving pesto and pasta. I knew I could make pesto out of my arugula and I come from an Italian household so I know there’s always grated parmesan, olive oil, and garlic – that is a given (and a blessing). But, from every pesto recipe or pesto dish on any restaurant menu that I’ve seen, pine nuts are one of the star ingredients. Of course, no pine nuts in the pantry. But, we did have walnuts and I thought, everything is good is always created from the season it’s in. Unfortunately, I did not forage for these walnuts. These walnuts were bought from the grocery store. If you do not have walnuts or pine nuts use almonds or any other mild nut. If you have an allergy to tree nuts, don’t even bother (clearly). You’ll still get that great pesto sauce even without them.
Without further ado, here is a quick and easy arugula pesto recipe I conjured up after a few beers at a bar. Enjoy!
2 cups of arugula leaves
1/2 cup of walnuts
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh tomatoes (if desired)
Blend arugula, walnuts, garlic, and parmesan in a food processor or blender (I used my Vitamix). Slowly pour in your extra virgin olive oil while ingredients are blending.
As far as pasta goes…there are no rules! I chose rigatoni because it was what I had. Feel free to choose what you like – guaranteed it will taste delicious. Make sure to save a cup of pasta water to loosen your pesto after it is tossed with your pasta.
I boiled up 1 lb of pasta and had plenty of extra pesto left over! Try using it on sandwiches, with your eggs, as a marinade – get creative!