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This recipe for Arugula Walnut Pesto was the invention for a simple dinner that I wanted to complicate. Not that making pesto is complicated, pesto is really rather easy to make, but I wanted the flavors in the simple dinner to be more complex. Rounded. Delicious.
As I was contemplating my dinner, a risotto with roasted butternut squash and artichoke hearts I had left-over in the fridge, and the added ingredient suggestion from my husband, some pancetta, I thought the flavor needed a boost, something savory and peppery. Sage was a thought, but I have some beautiful arugula growing in the garden and thought the peppery element arugula offers would be a perfect accompaniment to the roasted squash and artichoke hearts. Added to that the earthiness of walnuts, a spritz of fresh lemon, and oh la la. It is good.
Pesto can be made out of almost any type of herb, mixed with nuts, add a little extra virgin olive oil, some cheese, and in this case, lemon juice for brightness. And most all pestos will go with most all things you want to serve pesto with. This one just has the hardiness to go with the roasted butternut squash and the earthy artichoke hearts. It would also go well with a whole wheat pasta (which tends to need a heartier sauce), steamed green beans or how about some roasted asparagus?
Place the arugula, walnuts, and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor and using on/off pulses, pulse until finely chopped. With the motor on, add the lemon juice and olive oil and blend until almost smooth. Add the cheese and pulse until incorporated. Taste and add salt as needed.
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