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Spaghetti with Arugula-Mint Pesto

Also known as rocket, arugula is a pleasantly peppery green that has been grown along the Mediterranean since Roman times. Here, arugula and fresh mint are combined to create a sprightly pesto that’s tossed with spaghetti. 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups packed arugula   
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves 
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup shaved aged hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • Zest of 1 lemon 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 lb. spaghetti 

Directions:

In a blender, combine the arugula, mint, olive oil, the 1/2 cup cheese, the garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Stir in 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the pesto until ready to serve.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the empty pot.

Toss the pesto with the spaghetti. Thin it out with a small amount of reserved cooking water if needed. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and toss with the remaining 1 Tbs. lemon juice. Divide among warmed serving bowls. Sprinkle cheese over each portion and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, by Tasha DeSerio & Jodi Liano (Weldon Owen, 2010).