Thursday, March 22, 2012

Penne with White Beans and Arugula Pesto

This here is that pesto recipe I talked about on my last post. I claim it is better than basil pesto. It's more mild and kid friendly. And it's also cheaper. Basil is pricey and so are those darn pine nuts. But here, we have arugula and walnuts, both cheap and delicious! In this recipe, use your best olive oil. The good extra virgin stuff. I keep a bottle of expensive extra virgin olive oil just for use in things like this. 

I took a note from Sweet Pea and her using clever names to encourage her boys to eat their dinner. I call this "Hulk Pasta" and my boys find that wonderful.

Penne with White Beans and Arugula Pesto
recipe by Whitney Ingram
½ cup walnuts
1 5 ounce box arugula
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup-¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 pound penne pasta, prepared according to package directions
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

In a small skillet over medium high heat, add walnuts. Toast walnuts, stirring occasionally, until walnuts are fragrant and lightly browned. Pour walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Add arugula, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process until well combined. With the machine running, add olive oil until desired consistency is achieved. Transfer pesto to a medium bowl and stir in lemon zest and Parmesan. Toss pesto with cooked pasta and cannellini beans.

Yields 8 servings.

NOTE: When I make this, I halve the pasta and only use half of the pesto. With the leftover pesto, I use it on steamed veggies, sandwiches, dip with chips, etc. Bonus about arugula pesto- it doesn’t change colors like basil does.

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