Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Arugula Pesto Pasta

Pesto just got even better!  I did not think that was possible, but this dish proves it is!  Don't get me wrong, I love basil.  But I may have found my new love in arugula pesto. If you follow me on Instagram (kelseyhunter), you may have seen that I was "testing" out the pesto a few days ago.  Half a baguette later and dinner was on the table.  You must try this pesto, whether you actually use it in a pasta dish or just eat it on its own.

And if you have a minute, check out the step-by-step recipe feature that Gaby from What's Gaby Cooking did on the Tasty Kitchen blog yesterday.  She made my Quinoa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado.  It was pretty cool to see that she had picked one of K&K Test Kitchen's recipes to make!

Arugula Pesto

Pesto adapted from Michael Chiarello via 
Serves 4


4 cups arugula
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup walnut pieces
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1/2 pound whole wheat linguini
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

For the pesto:

Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.

Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and walnuts. Blend for at least 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and blend.  Then, add the cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

For the meal: 

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Spray a glass baking dish with a bit of cooking spray or lightly coat with olive oil.  Place the chicken in the dish and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto on top of each chicken breast.   Bake for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, bring a pot of generously salted water to boil.  Cook your pasta until it is al dente.  Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.  Put the pasta back into the pot, along with 1/2 cup (or more if you prefer) arugula pesto, sundried tomatoes, and the cooking water.  Stir well to combine.  Serve with the cooked and sliced pesto chicken.  Reserve the rest of the pesto for dipping bread or as a spread for sandwiches.


  1. o wow, this pasta dish is literally all of my favorite flavors packed into a meal :) I love pesto with sun-dried tomato, and the arugula pesto variation sounds delicious! I've been making an artichoke pesto recipe like crazy lately and I'm obsessed with anything I can blend with basil : ) Gorgeous picture too!!

  2. Yummy, arugula is my favorite green for salad and I will have to try the pesto as I like basil pesto but it is not my all time favorite. I will be making this one soon! Thanks Bella!

  3. yum looks amazing-perfect summer pasta!!! I have been seeing all these different pestos pop up latley, I need to experiment asap!

  4. Im obsessed with pesto... yet I don't nearly make it our eat it enough! This looks SOOOOOOOOO SOOOOOO SOOOOOO good. I'm totally doin it!

  5. Very cool indeed. This looks wicked good. I just want to grab a fork and dive in.

  6. i adore arugula! here in italy it's got so much bite to it so i absolutely must try this! :)


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