FUSILLI WITH FRESH HERBS & ARTICHOKES
Pestos aren’t all created equal. Many Americans associate the term with pesto Genovese, a pesto made with basil, cheese, and pine nuts, and mashed with a mortar & pestle.
However, the Italian word for “to pound or crush” is what the word comes from. This opens up many flavor combinations.
One version of pesto that Rolando Beramendi had published inspired us. This Tuscan chef combines bitter herbs, greens and marinated artichoke heart into a vegan pesto that goes well with fusilli pasta.
This recipe is from “COOKish”, which restricts recipes to six ingredients but doesn’t sacrifice flavor. We use arugula as a background of pepperiness and tempered with grassy parsley. Because the flavor of the neutral oil doesn’t interfere with other ingredients, we prefer to add it to the sauce. However, we do drizzle extra-virgin oil right before serving. You can use canned or marinated artichoke heart.
Start slowly pulsing ingredients in the food processor/blender. You’ll end up overworking the herbs, which will result in a loss of flavor.
Start to finish in 20 minutes
Baby watercress OR baby arugula in 3 cups, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley lightly packed
4 scallions, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram or fresh oregano
2 marinated artichoke heart quartered and chopped marinated hearts to serve
6 tablespoons of neutral oil
Ground black pepper and kosher salt
1 lb fusilli OR cavatappi OR geelli pasta
Extra-virgin Olive Oil, to Serve
Blend the arugula with the parsley, scallions and marjoram. Add 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and blend. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Boil the pasta until it is al dente in large saucepan of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water. Toss the pasta with 1/4 cup of the cooking water and pesto. Continue to tossing, adding more water as needed to make it thinner. Season with salt & pepper. Top with chopped artichokes, and drizzle with olive oil.
Additional garnishes: Toasted sliced almonds OR shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese OR lemon wedges OR toast breadcrumbs.