All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014
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This is not a vegan dish but the goat cheese & ricotta salata are just nice additional touches to the arugula pesto & could be eliminated – and the dish would still be yummy. Ricotta salata is described like this on Cheese.com:
The words ‘Ricotta’ means re-cooked and ‘Salata’ means salted. Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in color with firm texture and salty taste. The cheese is often used in salads and ideal for slicing, crumbling and grating.
It is just an elegant garnish here. The goat cheese I added was so insignificant in quantity as to hardly matter. I used real Parmesan – but they do make vegan ones so, if you are vegan, I still recommend this arugula pistachio pesto pasta.
Easy as easy gets – you just whip up the pesto in a food processor, boil some pasta & mix the shit up. Add the cheeses if you are a cheese eater and that is that. It can be ready in a little more time than it takes to cook the pasta.
I used this non-vegan stuff I found recently at my personal happiest place on Earth – Super King. They were smaller than your average bow tie pastas & I liked that they call them butterflies. 🙂
Arugula Pistachio Pesto
This makes enough for at least a pound or two of pasta but it keeps well in an air-tight container in the fridge.
6 oz fresh arugula
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup pistachios (or other nuts)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
I used 1/4 cup olive oil & 1/4 cup of water to thin the pesto. 1/2 cup of oil just seems crazy to me – but you can go all oil if you want to.
Blend into a pesto in a food processor – starting with just the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Drizzle more (or water) in as it purees until you get the consistency you like. Set aside.
Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese and Ricotta Salata
OK – this is a dish where the ration of ingredients is up to the chef. But here is a loose guide:
Pasta enough to feed your guests
Arugula pistachio pesto (recipe above)
Additional fresh arugula
Goat cheese (less than an ounce per person) – optional
Ricotta salata as garnish (or Parmesan) – optional
Make the pesto.
Boil the pasta. Drain it & return it to the pan. Toss with pesto (starting in small increments because too much pesto gets yucky!). If using goat cheese – add some here now & toss well. Add some fresh arugula & toss.
Serve garnished with either shaved or grated ricotta salata or Parmesan. Or not.
Lots of fresh pepper & you are done! SEE HOW EASY?