There are problems with going to the grocery store after an excruciatingly challenging, ninety-minute-long hot yoga class. For one, you're a little light-headed, and apt to forget staple things you really need, like butter (oops). For another, you're in this wonderfully light, virtuous, yogini state where you think to yourself, "I really shouldn't need anything other than a large bin of arugula and a couple kombuchas to survive this week. Who needs meat or cheese?" Um, I do! Flash forward to me last night, long after the fade of the yogini afterglow, wishing desperately that I had not passed up some really phenomenal looking black-and-white cookies and had perhaps scored a nice chunk of gouda while I was at it.
You see, it's a cupboards week around here. The husband and I both have work travel planned between now and Friday, and with one or the other of us dining alone all week, we didn't need a big grocery haul. My post-yoga shop was meant to just cover some basics to see us through, plus gather the little man's weekly necessities. Well, he got his drinkable yogurts, Cheerios and blueberries, but in my yogic state, I really under-shopped for myself, and really, really got way too much arugula. Why? I still couldn't tell you. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
When I'm dining alone for several nights, I need something more exciting than a series of arugula salads, so I did what any desperate/creative person would do and made pesto; but this was cupboards pesto, as I had no basil, no pine nuts, and very little parmesan. I'm so happy with the result that I had to post the recipe. This pesto is a nutritional powerhouse, so spicy and tasty, and proof positive that necessity is the mother of invention. I could have planned to make pesto and bought a boatload of basil, and it wouldn't have come close to what I created using just what we had on hand. Instead of a boring salad, I plan to dine this evening on a tangle of beautiful angel hair pesto with roasted tomatoes. Maybe my inner yogini knew what she was doing all along. My inner gourmand thanks her kindly. Namaste.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 oz. arugula (or about 1 medium bag)
3/4 cup whole, roasted, salted almonds
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1) In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, first mince the garlic. Then, add the arugula and process well.
2) Next add the almonds and process until smooth, and repeat with the parmesan.
3) Add the olive oil slowly, drizzling through the tube while the food processor is on, until the pesto reaches your desired thickness.
4) Add the sugar, salt and pepper to taste, pulsing between additions to blend thoroughly.
This recipe yields about 12 ounces of pesto, or enough to cover about 2 lbs of pasta (or less if you prefer a really concentrated pesto punch... taste as you go!). Generally speaking, pesto will store well in the refrigerator for about a week to 10 days and freezes beautifully. Don't be afraid to think outside the (pasta) box and use the pesto for everything from a sandwich spread to a salad dressing base to a scrambled egg topper. The possibilities are endless...