Friday, May 21, 2010


Arugula is fun to say.


Or, to be precise: ə-ˈrü-gə-lə, -gyə-

But apparently it's for snooty people.  Well dammit, I say NO!  Take back arugula and make it every-man's food.  Think of it as a dressy spinach.  If you've never had it, it's every bit as versatile as spinach.  Raw in salads and on sandwiches, wilted in hot dishes, or as pesto.  It can be mild like spinach but the best stuff has a distinctive peppery bite to it.

I wandered through the entire farmers market and almost didn't buy any fresh produce.  But then I saw the leafy, green, and peppery arugula.  As the vendor handed me the fresh bouquet of greens I could smell that this would be a spicey bundle.  Yummy!

I mulled over my options for the rest of the day, mentally pillaging my pantry for ingredients.  This is what I came up with:

Lemon-arugula pasta with chicken, feta, and toasted pecans
Note that there are no pecans.  I forgot them.  Alas.  They would have been good.

handful of chopped pecans
1 box linguine (I used organic whole wheat)
1 bunch arugula, cleaned & stems removed
1 lemon, zested & juiced
cooked chicken (I had chopped some dark meat on hand)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 package of feta cheese, chopped or crumbled
olive oil
salt to taste


Cook pasta according to directions.

In a dry pan, lightly toast the pecans over medium heat until they smell toasted.  You'll know it when you smell it.  Remove them from the pan and save for later.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan and saute garlic briefly.

Add chicken and heat through.

Prepare the feta, lemon zest, and arugula.
Dump the arugula, lemon zest, and feta onto the chicken & garlic.  Add a little salt.
Then dump the drained pasta onto the whole kit-n-caboodle.  Toss with tongs to melt the feta and wilt the arugula.  Add a little pasta water if you want some sauce - this is a otherwise a sauceless pasta.
Doesn't this look yummy?  The arugula is so pretty and bright green!  Top with lemon juice and toasted pecans... if you did them (dang it!).

Tomorrow I'm going to make a similar dish with sausage and the leftover arugula.  Yum.  I've got a little heel of parmesan left that I'll use up.

The nice thing about meals like this is that they're flexible.  Replace the chicken with ham or proscuitto or peas, the feta with parmesan or gorgonzola, and the pecans with walnuts or pinenuts (or nothing, as I apparently did).  This is not a hard & fast recipe, it's really more of a suggestion.  Try it, or something like it, and let me know what you do!

Happy cooking.

1 comment:

  1. I never thought of these less popular vegetables being "rich people food", and was heartbroken to hear a demonstration garden volunteer tell me that their local foodbank has requested "no gourmet foods" be donated. Apparently people have lost all sense of how to eat real vegetables. If it's not iceburg lettuce or other standard Safeway-looking produce, people don't know what to do with it. Sad statement of the times.