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Orecchiette with Arugula Pesto

I love this pasta dish. The delicate bitter taste of the arugula is just brilliant and the miso gives the pesto a most delicious 'cheesy' richness.


2 bunches arugula, stems removed, rinsed well, coarsely minced
1 bunch chives, rinsed well, coarsely minced
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly roasted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 teaspoons white miso
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 pound orecchiette or penne pasta
1 red onion, thin half moon slices
several fresh chives, left whole, for garnish

To make the pesto, rinse and prepare the greens and chives. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and quickly blanche the arugula, about 30 seconds. Combine with chives, transfer to a food processor and pulse to puree. Add nuts, oil, miso, rice syrup and vinegar. Puree until a thick, smooth pesto forms. Set aside.

Return water to a boil. Cook orecchiette and onions together until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain, but do not rinse. Toss hot pasta with pesto to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl and arrange chives in a criss-cross pattern on top of the noodles to garnish. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 5-6 servings. 


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