Author Notes: I'm a young college grad, and I don't own a food processor. For a while, I thought that meant I couldn't make pesto at home--until I found the blog 101 Cookbooks, and discovered that making pesto with a knife is not only possible, but insanely delicious. This particular recipe is a fabulous variation on the traditional Italian pesto: arugula instead of basil, and almonds instead of pine nuts. The result is bright, grassy, assertive, and amazingly fresh. It's great tossed with whole-grain pasta, even better with a poached egg on top. —ieatthepeach
large garlic cloves, peeled
A couple handfuls of slivered almonds
A couple handfuls of fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Toast the almonds in a dry (un-oiled) frying pan over medium heat, until they're lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Roughly chop the arugula, and slice the garlic cloves.
- Pile about a third of the arugula and about half the garlic in the center of a large cutting board. Using a large chef's knife or a vegetable cleaver, chop the arugula and garlic until it's finely minced but not quite obliterated. Add another third of the arugula and chop again until everything is finely minced. Repeat with the rest of the arugula and garlic.
- Add the almonds, a handful at a time, and then the parmesan, a handful at a time, chopping thoroughly in between each addition. The pesto is ready when you can press it together into a lump and have it more or less stick to itself.
- Transfer the pesto-lump to a bowl and pour over enough olive oil to moisten the whole mixture. If you're not serving the pesto right away, it can be stored like this in the fridge.
- Just before serving, stir to combine the olive oil and solids.