Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guest Post: lawerence of arugula


Yellow roma tomatoes, sigh. Juicy produce is the epitome of summer. In this lazy season, we can find ourselves attending endless pool parties and barbeques serving the masses with macaroni, potato salad, pizza, hot dogs.

Perhaps nothing so wrong with that, but I find these especially hot past few weeks make heavy, steaming foods unappealing. So I start going nuts---I mean, finding fruits and veggies to enjoy with this crunchy protein, clarifies the vegetarian. Perhaps it’s my adoration for pistachio gelato that has me drooling over this nut in warmer weather.

If you haven’t already tried this easy-peasy pistachio-poppy seed fruit salad, start there. Then delight with me in the intriguing notion of pistachio pesto for an inventive summer pasta to accompany my favorite summer salad. Though divided into simple steps, this is a quick, hearty and healthy meal!

To make this entire meal in about thirty minutes, make the best use of your time:

1.      Wash the salad ingredients and leave them to dry.

2.      Heat a large pot of well-salted water.

3.      Infuse the oil, prepare the pesto.

4.      While the spaghetti boils, combine the salad dressing.

5.      Toss the pasta and the salad; serve!

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Arugula and Pistachios

serves four, inspired by a doctor’s-office-magazine-recipe

½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 small shallot, sliced
2 large lemons
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ lb. whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups packed baby arugula, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt & freshly ground pepper

Helpful Equipment: small food processor

Toast the pistachios

Begin boiling a large pot of salted water. Add the nuts to a dry skillet over medium-heat. Stir occasionally and toast until fragrant (about 5 minutes). Make the lemon oil while waiting for the nuts to cook.

pistachios.JPGInfuse the olive oil

This is a gloriously simple, impressive technique (that you might casually mention to your company for serious culinary points). To make lemon olive oil, remove all the rind from one lemon with a vegetable peeler. In a small saucepan, add the zest of the second lemon, in addition to the peel, to the 3 tbsp. olive oil. Heat the lemon and olive oil on the low heat while preparing the rest of the pasta. (I use zest for this recipe, but to make on another occasion, rind alone is fine).

Make the pesto

Add the pasta to the boiling water. Pulse the pistachios and shallot in a food processor until finely chopped. Add pulp from half of one lemon (save the other half for your salad dressing) and pulse with the lemon oil—removing the large rinds first! Add the pesto directly to your serving bowl.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions for al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Add the pasta to your bowl and toss with the pistachio-lemon mixture. Stir in the arugula, a large pinch or two of salt, additional oil if needed, and season with pepper. I didn’t add parmesan because I had only salted pistachios which made the dish so wonderfully salty, it didn’t require cheese. If you only have salted pistachios, do not add salt at the end. Always, always, always taste your food before serving and adjust the salt and pepper—better to under season first. Squeeze lemon juice into spaghetti if the dish needs it.


Lindsey’s Favorite Summer Salad

serves four, a basic Linvention

The ripe summer fruit and sweet dressing offset bitter arugula. Preparing the dressing directly in your salad bowl saves time and cleanup!

arugula (remaining from your pasta dish) or spinach
4-5 summer stone fruits or strawberries (peaches, plums, nectarines), chopped into wedges
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ lemon, zested and juiced
½ tbsp. agave nectar (honey/sugar can substitute)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Optional fun: toasted nuts (almond, walnuts), herbs (chives, basil)

Add the lemon juice and zest into your salad bowl. While whisking add the agave nectar, followed by 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Taste. If the lemon is too strong, add a little more oil. Once balanced for sweet and tart, season with a large pinch of coarse salt and fresh black pepper—stir in herbs if using. Add the washed greens and fruit wedges atop your dressing, toss just before serving.

Visit A Pear to Remember and tell me how it turns out!

Lindsey Seegers, who started the blog A Pear to Remember, writes weekly about vegetables, kitchen tools, and what to feed her chicken-loving husband. Lindsey’s culinary world changed while working as the catering manager for the Space Telescope Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins University. When she isn’t working in second grade special education, or perusing Trader Joes, she is at George Mason University completing her graduate work in Nutrition. Keep up with her adventures (and brand new kitchen!) over at

*today’s post title is from a fabulous apron by Wearable Vegetables. I own one proclaiming “Kiss My As-paragus”.

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