Monday, August 09, 2010

Spaghetti with Overgrown Arugula

This is a recipe we ate a lot last summer, since I grew lots of arugula. I didn't grow much this summer, but I did have this one pot that definitely counted as overgrown (not to mention neglected and ignored).  I had pretty much given up on eating it and was just putting off pulling it out and composting it, but then I remembered this recipe... It still had quite a nice level of spiciness but wasn't too strong to eat.

I harvested the whole pot of arugula, but after I sorted through it and threw out the bad parts, there was not quite as much.  It cooks down a lot and ends up looking like not much greens for your pasta, but if you pull apart the clumps and spread it throughout the pasta the taste is certainly strong enough to carry the dish.

Spaghetti with Overgrown Arugula
Adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti (or I used barilla plus)
  • 1 large bunch or bag mature/overgrown arugula
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • several pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ricotta or goat cheese (optional - we were out so I omitted)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
I have adapted this to make it a one pot meal - takes just a few minutes longer.  In a large pot, salt water and bring to a boil, then cook spaghetti until al dente (still slightly firm).  Drain the pasta and reheat pan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and when it is warm, cook the garlic and pepper flakes for 1 minute.  Add the arugula (slightly wet) and a few pinches of salt, and cook until arugula is wilted, 2-3 minutes, stirring to make sure it all gets cooked.  Add the cooked spaghetti and walnuts to the pan and stir to mix thoroughly.  Serve topped with ricotta/goat cheese and grated parmesan.

Tip for toasting nuts:  it is super easy to burn nuts.  I find the best way to toast is with the timer in my toaster oven - I just put them in on the tray and set it to the light setting and that way there is less of a risk of forgetting about them and burning them all (which has happened to me more times than I like to say).

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