Author Notes: 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
cup blanched slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or chopped skinned hazelnuts
pound arugula, roughly chopped
cups garlic cloves, sliced
cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or enough to moisten and bind the pesto
pound short pasta
large eggs (1 per person)
- 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.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Parmesan
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fresh Herbs