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Ethnic Sensations
May 2015

Penne Rigate Pasta with Wild Arugula, Marcona Almond and Truffle Pesto


Penne Rigate Pasta with Wild Arugula, Marcona Almond and Truffle Pesto
By Heidi Allison


This “on trend”, fresh pesto changes out traditional basil for the more aggressive, peppery and slightly bitter, wild arugula — to create a finished dish that is more complex, yet surprisingly refined, than conventional herbaceous-tasting basil pesto. Soft, buttery-textured, Spanish Marcona almonds, seasoned with truffle salt, replace pine nuts, adding an addictive flavor edge to the fresh-tasting, emerald green pasta sauce. Lemon juice and lemon zest impart an acidic brightness, while a finely grated, hard-boiled egg yolk and black pepper top the pasta, lending a bit of unexpected richness and pungency to the finished dish. Great for busy weeknight dinners or a lazy weekend side dish.

The trick to mastering this recipe is adding hot pasta-cooking water to the final tossing of the sauce, right before serving. Don’t skip this crucial step; the heat softens the garlic and lemon zest, which release more flavor, while the residual heat also softens the cheese, creating a creamy, yet fresh-tasting pasta sauce.

Good to note: this recipe makes an extra cup of pesto, which doubles as a sandwich spread or sauce for grilled fish or roasted chicken.

Penne Rigate Pasta with Wild Arugula, Marcona Almond and Truffle Pesto
Serves: 2 as a side


Ingredients:  Penne Rigate Pasta with Wild Arugula, Marcona Almond and Truffle Pesto

Ingredients:

5 ounces Organic Wild Arugula
¼ cup Marcona Almonds
1 clove Garlic, smashed and peeled
3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 ounces of Parma Reggiano Cheese, freshly ground (about ¼ cup)
Zest of ¼ Lemon
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 2 Tablespoons
3 Tablespoons Truffle Flavored Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Truffle Salt, plus a pinch more for sprinkling over finished dish
½ pound of Penne Pasta

Preparation:

Combine arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and cheese in a food processor and sprinkle with truffle salt.


Combine arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and cheese in a food processor and sprinkle with truffle salt.

Pulse until coarsely chopped. With motor running, slowly add extra virgin olive oil. Pause, then add truffle oil in a steady steam, until a creamy, yet rough paste with nut pieces appears. Fold in lemon zest. Set aside.


Pulse until coarsely chopped. With motor running, slowly add extra virgin olive oil. Pause, then add truffle oil in a steady steam, until a creamy, yet rough paste with nut pieces appears. Fold in lemon zest. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add 2 tablespoons of kosher flake salt. When water returns to a boil, add pasta and cook till al dente, about 9 minutes, Drain pasta, then immediately toss hot pasta with ½ heaping cup of arugula-almond pesto mixture. Add 3-4 tablespoons of hot pasta cooking water and toss again.

Place in a serving bowl and top with 5 turns of freshly ground black pepper over pasta, a sprinkling of truffle salt and finely grated egg yolk (use a microplane) over pasta, then serve.