Here is a good example of how I like to cook and experiment in my kitchen. I've been working with an arugula pesto recipe and have used it for a first course during a dinner party with asparagus, goat cheese, and radishes, then the next morning I added a few poached eggs to it and finally today for lunch I spread it on gorgeous dark rye bread with sliced tomatoes and avocados.
I encourage you to make this pesto. It's easier than a basil based pesto and because it's lighter you can use it in so many ways.
ASPARAGUS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND ARUGULA SAUCE
“Asparagi con Caprini e Salsa di Rucola”
I serve this sometimes as a first course for dinner parties. It’s a very pretty presentation and you can place it on the table in advance.
Kosher salt (for boiling water)
2 bunches of asparagus, cut off ends(count out approximately 4-5 per person)
Arugula Pesto – see below
1 - 2 logs of goat cheese (or fresh mozzarella or ricotta if you prefer)
a bunch of radishes
Boil water with some salt in a pot or a frying pan to fit asparagus.
Add asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes depending on thickness of your asparagus. Test with a fork.
Remove from the water (using tongs) and plunge into icy water – being careful not to break off ends.
Drain asparagus and set aside to cool.
Make Arugula Pesto
1-2 cloves garlic
½ cup of pine nuts
4 cups arugula
¼ cup Olive oil (more if necessary for proper consistency)*
1 lemon (squeezed)
Kosher salt and pepper
Using a Cuisinart – put your garlic and pine nuts in first – pulse.
Add your arugula – pulse again – using a spatula to clean sides.
While machine is running add olive oil to the top streamer.
If you want a more liquid consistency add more olive oil.
*I like to use a light olive oil when I’m making arugula pesto because arugula can have an intense flavor.
Squeeze your lemon in. If you prefer start with ½ then add more if you like.
Pulse again until blended.
Taste – add salt and pepper to taste.
Arugula has a very peppery taste so you may not even need to add any pepper at all.
Notice I do not add any Parmesan cheese to this recipe. I like to keep it light but if you want add some.
Arrange the asparagus on individual plates – approximately 4-5 each.
Slice the log of goat cheese into thick disks and lay over the asparagus spears. (I’ve even done a soft boiled egg on top instead of cheese and served for breakfast.)
Spoon some of the arugula pesto over the cheese.
You could also spread pesto on plate then place everything on top. Experiment – see how you like to display this pretty dish.
After washing radish using a vegetable peeler, arrange some slices on the plate.
You can garnish with extra arugula leaves if you like.
You can also serve this dish as a buffet item and place all of your asparagus on a platter instead of individual plates.
If you prefer basil pesto, place that on top instead of arugula pesto.
This arugula pesto is lovely as a spread on sandwiches.