Linguine with Arugula Pesto
Arugula Flowers and Borage Flowers
Arugula flowers taste just like the leaves, but maybe slightly less peppery and with an interesting hint of sweetness. They make a mighty tasty garnish for such a delicate little white blossom.
Borage flowers have much less flavor, only a whisper of cucumber taste, but what they lack in flavor they make up in color. Because the flavor is mild, borage can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and they make any presentation pop!
With Spring in full force, my garden is bursting with arugula and borage…and since they are growing side-by-side, I thought I would combine them in a pasta dish.
Arugula leaves make a peppery pesto so I lower the volume and balance the flavor with the addition of cilantro and mint. Those who are not fans of cilantro can combine the arugula with another mild-tasting herb, such as parsley.
Linguine Arugula Pesto Recipe
Prepare the flowers by rinsing gently in a bowl of cool water and leave to dry on a paper towel. Read about how to remove the borage sepals from the corolla here.
Linguine with Creamy-Style Arugula Pesto:
Cook 1/2 lb. of dried linguine according to package instructions. Reserve 1/3 cup of hot pasta water, then drain the pasta. Prepare the pesto while the pasta is cooking.
2 c. arugula leaves, packed*
3/4 c. cilantro including stems, packed
1/4 c. mint, loose packed
1 garlic clove (or 2 if you like it garlicky)
1/4 c. walnuts pieces
1/4 t. kosher salt, or to taste
1 T. lemon juice
3/8 c. fruity olive oil
1/3 c. grated parmesan
up to 1/3 c. hot pasta water
*Note: Arugula that is flowering is much spicier than ordinary arugula from the market. Older, more mature leaves are considerably more pungent. If you want to tone-down the peppery quality, use store-bought arugula leaves and just use the flowers from the garden.
In the bowl of a food processor – blend arugula, cilantro, mint, garlic, walnuts, salt, lemon juice. Once blended, scrape down the sides of the bowl and stream in the olive oil. Add Parmesan and blend briefly to combine. Taste for seasoning.
When ready to serve. Blend hot pasta water into the pesto to form a creamy texture. Toss linguine with pesto.
Plate the pasta and top with arugula and borage flowers. The pasta should be warm but not too hot so the flowers don’t immediately wilt.
Arugula and Borage
Fans of arugula and borage might also like my salad with feta, pistachio, and pomegranate, recipe here.