Back in chilly February, on the 21st to be exact (according to the garden journal I’ve started in Evernote), I sowed arugula seeds in a large pot in my driveway. I covered the pot with this handy popup greenhouse and waited. But I didn’t have to wait long.
As any home gardener knows, arugula provides instant gratification. Despite the freezing temperatures (though my mini greenhouse was snug), the arugula sprouted in about 10 days. By mid-March, we were cutting baby arugula for salads, and by the end of April, I had taken three cuttings, filling the produce drawer in the fridge with home-grown arugula.
This early spring arugula was delightfully mild; sometimes I find that arugula takes on a sharper flavor once the plants mature or in summer heat. When that happens, I like to do two things with larger arugula leaves: either cook it (like in this recipe for pasta with arugula and mushrooms) or make pesto.
This recipe for arugula pesto is super easy, and the result is delicious tossed with pasta and Parmesan or spread on toasted bread with goat cheese.
easy arugula pesto
4 cups (lightly packed) fresh arugula
1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
1/2 cup (lightly packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
3 small cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is as smooth or as chunky as you like.