I like the strong, bitter, almost meaty flavour of rocket. It seems to be a love it or hate it affair with this leaf and I’m firmly in the love-it camp. Rocket works not just as a salad leaf to perk up an otherwise boring lettuce salad, it also comes into its own used as a herb in pesto. The fact that it’s priced like a salad leaf, not a herb, also boosts its popularity in eatdrinkcooktravel land.
I’m normally quite lazy when it comes to pesto, so lazy that I don’t even want to break out the food processor for it. That’s why my favourite way to make pasta in pesto is a sort of deconstructed version.
handful pine nuts
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 handfuls of rocket, chopped
parmesan cheese, optional
- Cook the linguine in plenty of boiling salted water till al dente.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing often till golden brown. Set aside and chop coarsely if you can be bothered.
- When the linguine is about done, heat the oil in the frying pan and gently cook the garlic for a few seconds.
- Add the pasta, a spoonful of its cooking liquid and the rocket and toss till the linguine is well-coated.
- Toss in the pine nuts and season to taste.
- Grate over the parmesan cheese if you’re using and serve.