We weren't exactly sure what "rocket salad" was when we saw it on Italian menus on our honeymoon. We soon discovered that arugula (rucola in Italian) is known as "rocket" to Europeans. I was happy to see it for sale at my grocery store this week and I picked some up to use for a pesto sauce. Arugula has a strong spicy flavor, not quite the same as basil but it works well for pesto. It can be expensive to buy loads of fresh basil out of season so this is a good way to change it up and save money too. We also use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts because they have similar taste and texture but are a lot cheaper. Using a large food processor makes it one quick tasty sauce.
5 oz arugula
1/2 cup basil
2 cloves garlic (We used some delicious garlic confit we got for X-mas along with the raw garlic)
olive oil (around 1/2 cup)
3 T sunflower seeds (pine nuts are fine too)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
Put all dry ingredients in a food processor, drizzle in some olive oil, and pulse for about 10 seconds. Scrape the sides down, add more oil, and blend. Continue drizzling in the olive oil until the pesto comes to a smooth consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and add if needed.
We served the pesto sauce with pasta and chicken. This recipe made enough to generously coat one pound of cooked pasta. Enjoy!