I made this sandwich for dinner on Monday night after my big Graduation ceremony!! After 4 years of balancing grad school with work, it is such a relief to finally be finished. It's been an exciting week for us, on top of Graduation, John and I were accepted into the weekly Alan's Orchard Fresh Box program. We will be getting a huge box of locally farmed fruits and vegetables every Thursday for the entire spring and summer!! My goal is to share with you one recipe a week from the box. This Arugula Pesto recipe came from the flyer that went with box. Look for another way to use Arugula pesto next week, since it made so much we will be trying another recipe tonight.
Originally adapted from: Bon Appetit November 1998
Ingredients for Pesto:
4 Cups Arugula
1/4 Cup & 1 Tsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts - Toasted
1 Clove Garlic - Minced
Ingredients for Sandwich:
Sourdough or Italian Bread - Sliced Thin
1 Sm Jar of Roasted Red Pepper Slices
1 Block Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese
In a small pan over medium, heat up the Tsp of olive oil along with the pine nuts. Be sure to keep shaking the pan or stirring them with the spatula so they don't burn. This shouldn't take more then 3-4 minutes tops. When they have a light brown color take them off of the stove and pour them into your food processor. Next pour in your grated Parmesan cheese and the garlic.
If have you a great big food processor you can probably fit all 4 cups of Arugula but since I have a small one I put 2 cups in at a time. Make sure your Arugula is washed and you have pulled the roots off if it's the freshly picked version like mine was. In the food processor puree the ingredients together. While it's pureeing, slowly pour in the olive oil from the top. If you did two different rounds of Arugula like I did use half of the olive oil in the first round and the other half in the second. Adding the oil helps combine all of the ingredients together nicely.
This makes about 2 cups of pesto so you will have a lot and it's a pretty thick sauce so you can always thin it out for pasta with a little extra olive oil. Before you use it in this sandwich or with another recipe or another, it needs to sit on the counter for about 2 hours so the flavors can mature. You can also make it in advance and keep it in the fridge but you will want it be at room temperature before you use it.
To make the grilled cheese, heat up a Panini press or grill pan. Spread some of the Arugula Pesto over both slices of bread, top with 2 large slices of Mozzarella Cheese and a handful of Roasted Red Pepper Slices. Place on the grill for 2-3 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, oozing out the sides. This goes nicely with soup or a salad to make a full meal.
Enjoy!! - Nicole