The first time I made this, I was blown away. It tasted like something you'd order at a restaurant. The secret is in the technique: chopping the pesto by hand creates a wonderful nubbly texture and a lightness that machine-made pesto just can't match. There aren't many ingredients here, so seek out the freshest arugula and the best cheese you can get your hands on--it'll make a big difference. —ieatthepeach
blanched slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or chopped skinned hazelnuts
arugula, roughly chopped
4 large cups
garlic cloves, sliced
finely grated Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil, or enough to moisten and bind the pesto
Place nuts in a small skillet or frying pan (not nonstick). Place over medium heat and toast, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Pile about 1/3 of the arugula and garlic in the center of a large cutting board, and use a large sharp chef’s knife or vegetable cleaver to chop the mixture very fine. Add another 1/3 of the arugula and garlic, and chop again until very fine. Add the final 1/3 of the arugula and garlic, and chop again until very fine.
Add toasted cooled nuts, a handful at a time, chopping between each addition. Add Parmesan cheese, a handful at a time, chopping between each addition. The pesto is ready when you can press it into a lump and have it more or less stick to itself.
Transfer the pesto solids to a small bowl or container and pour over olive oil to cover the top. Set aside until needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt the water generously. Add pasta and cook until it's al dente. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, and gently crack eggs into the water. Poach for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolk is still thickly runny. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate.
Stir together the pesto solids and oil, then pour over pasta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a poached egg on top of each portion.