Too Much Arugula Rescue Pesto

My friend Tina has a country house in the middle of the woods in Northern Pennsylvania. It is a wonderful secluded place, with pretty much no services in shouting distance. Whenever we go up for an escape from New York weekend, we always bring our own food.

I don’t know why this always happens, because I’ve been going up there for years, but we always seem to cross signals on the food shopping side of things. Sure, we start out with the best of intentions and provide brief texted shopping lists a few days before we drive out. Then the reality of actually shopping for provisions takes over. We both buy whatever is on our lists and then are tempted by the cornucopia of delights available in many NYC supermarkets.

And so it was that we ended up with two giant stashes of arugula for two people for two days. The ever-resourceful Tina came up with a plan…and my pesto world was never the same again!

Arugula Rescue Pesto


  • 3 Cups arugula
  • 1 large (or 2 small) cloves of garlic
  • ½ Cup shredded Romano cheese (approximately ¼ Cup of cheese chunks)
  • ¼ – ½ Cup walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. As with regular basil pesto, I avoid chopping as much as possible. This recipe does require a food processor.
  2. Drop in the garlic clove while the blades are spinning. When garlic is finely minced, add in cheese chunks one by one until they are finely shredded.
  3. Add in the walnuts a little at a time until they are finely ground. At this point, I usually stop the food processor and mix the shredded ingredients with a spatula, collecting any pieces that have gravitated up.
  4. Turn the food processor back on and add the arugula little by little. There may come a point that it stops grinding properly. I slowly add a tablespoon of olive oil until it is grinding again then continue adding arugula until it is all mixed in.
  5. If the mix is too pasty, continue slowly adding olive oil until it reaches a pesto consistency that you like.

Tina served this pesto on top of swordfish—amazing! However, you can use this pesto on other fishy tasting fish (e.g., bluefish, cod), chicken, pasta or substitute arugula pesto in the Baked Tofu with Pesto recipe.

Note: Like basil pesto, arugula pesto can be frozen. I like it to be a little stiffer when I freeze it. After I defrost it for use, I usually add a little more olive oil.

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