I decided a few months ago that I really wanted to be one of those people who grows and cooks their own food. This plan is deeply flawed for two reasons: I am plant kryptonite and we live in an apartment. Not one to admit defeat, I bought some really cute planter boxes to hang on the porch railing and immediately planted a couple of strawberry plants, cilantro, jalapeno, and basil. I also planted a Thai basil plant because I’m fancy and just for good measure, a beautiful white hydrangea, which promptly curled up and died. I’ve been told I overwatered it. Very likely this is accurate considering I did not realize that overwatering was a thing. I’m here to tell you that it is.
So, to date, I have grown the following: two strawberries (they were as delicious as they were sparse), five of the babiest jalapeno peppers you’ve ever seen, and no cilantro. For whatever freak reason though, my basil game is strong, relatively speaking.
In my head, I was going to be cranking out batch after batch of basil pesto just to keep up with the growth of my healthy and super productive basil plants. In reality, while I do have one pretty happy looking basil plant, I had to start making pesto that doesn’t rely quite as heavily on basil. Reality suits me just fine, though, when it involves this Arugula Walnut Pesto. It’s bright, lemony, and is delicious whipped with goat cheese or as a sandwich spread. It’s also good eaten by the spoonful out of the refrigerator. Not that I would know anything about that…
- 2½ cups lightly packed arugula
- 1½ cups lightly packed basil leaves
- ½ cup toasted walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ lemon, zested and juiced
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 T ricotta cheese or plain greek yogurt
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- In a food processor, combine arugula, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Process until all the leaves are broken down and you have a smooth green paste. Add the basil leaves and ricotta and pulse until combined. Then with the food processer running, drizzle in the olive oil. Adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
- Store in a tightly sealed container. If there’s a lot of space between the pesto and the container lid, pour a little olive oil over the top to cover. This can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.