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Mediterranean Monday: Pesto di Rucola

This week’s Mediterranean Monday recipe is Pesto di Rucola – my go-to summer entertaining recipe.

Rucola (Rocket if you are in the UK and Arugula if you are in Canada or the US) is a leafy green vegetable which looks like a longer open leaved lettuce. It has been grown in the Mediterranean since Roman times, is rich in Vitamin C and potassium and is considered an aphrodisiac – just in case you were looking for another reason to try this recipe! It has a rich, peppery taste and the flavour is exceptionally strong for a leafy green. It can be used in salads, as a garnish in meat and fish dishes, but my favourite way to enjoy it is in pesto.

The word pesto comes from the Italian verb “pestare”, meaning to pound or crush, in reference to the original method of preparation with mortar and pestle. While traditional pesto from Liguria is made with basil there are many variations – like this one with Rucola.

150 g Rucola (Arugula) washed and dried
250ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
100 g of grated Parmasean cheese
50 g Pine nuts
1 or 2 garlic cloves (depends on the size of the clove and how much you love garlic)
pinch of salt

Put all the above ingredients together in a blender and blend on medium high speed until you have the desired consistancy. Feel free to play around with the quantities… I never measure anything out when making this dish. This pesto is a beautiful vibrant green colour and is delicious served on pasta or spread on bread as the basis to a bruschetta.

The oil that I use generally is Vantera from Campania.  The flavour of a delicate oil would be overpowered by the Rucola so a medium to robust oil is best.


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