The freshness of arugula is very inviting in the heat of the Italian summer. This is, of course, a variation of the famous “pesto” par excellence”. Arugula is a great source of flavonoids that are believed to have antioxidant properties. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin K, B and a very good source of iron, magnesium and vitamin A. Not only it shares the beneficial effects on the health of other cruciferous vegetables, but it is also a very rustic plant that does not need too much water, and it is ideal for the ones who have no too much time to dedicate to their garden.
The choice of potato gnocchi implies a lower quantity of calories due to the nutritional qualities of potato. I always prefer, if possible, to make potato gnocchi myself (see recipe).
The Latins considered this plant as a powerful aphrodisiac, probably because of its peppery flavor, typical above all of the wild variety.
- 3,5 pounds fresh potato gnocchi
- 18 prawns
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup (2 oz./60 g) pine nuts (it can be replaced by same quantity of walnut pieces)
- 3 cups (3 oz./90 g) arugula leaves coarsest chopped
- ½ cup (2 oz./60 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup (1 oz./30 g) freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- ½ cup (4 fl. Oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt for seasoning
In a small food processor, combine the garlic and pine nuts or walnuts. Blend until it is a soft paste and then add arugula in small batches, and the olive oil, spoon by spoon. Blend each time until there is room to add a little more arugula and oil. Once all the arugula and oil is added, blend thoroughly until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the cheeses, pulse to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Transfer pesto to a serving bowl or platter.
Cook gnocchi – in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, and add prawns 30 seconds before pasta is “al dente”.
Take ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and add to pesto, stirring carefully. Transfer gnocchi and prawns in the bowl with pesto and stir vigorously. Serve immediately.