Fettuccine with Arugula Pesto and Tomato Salsa

Circle B Kitchen

Recipe adapted from The Australian Women's Weekly Vegetarian Cookbook (via Beryl, a reader from down under)

The flavors in this pesto sauce are just outrageously delicious. I've reprinted the recipe mostly as it was written and noted the changes I made which were simply personal preference. A couple of those changes had to do with the amount of olive oil called for (2/3 cup) and garlic (8 cloves). I'm not terribly fond of oily pesto sauces and prefer to add some of the pasta cooking water to thin it down if need be. And I don't mind a subtle hint of garlic, but 8 cloves sounded a bit like calling in the heavy artillery so I bumped that back a bit too. If you're not a fan of raw garlic, I pop the cloves (unpeeled) into the microwave for a couple of seconds which softens the flavor a bit. I also recommend that you cut back on the lemon juice too. Add 1 tablespoon and then you can add more if you think it needs it.

1 lb fettuccine or linguini

8 cloves garlic, quartered (I used 2)

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil (I added a bit more)

120 grams (About 8 cups or 4.25 oz) arugula, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup olive oil (I used a little more than 1/4 cup)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

(I toasted 1/2 cup of almonds and blended them with the pesto - so good!)

3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2-3 oz goat cheese, optional

2 red thai chiles, thinly sliced (I used a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 9 minutes or until al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

2. Meanwhile, blend or process the garlic, basil, lemon juice, arugula and olive oil until it becomes a smooth paste.

3. In a large saucepan, combine the cooked pasta with the pesto, the goat cheese (if using) and the rest of the ingredients. Toss gently to combine, adding a little of the pasta cooking water if needed to thin the sauce.

4. To serve, top with the pine nuts and extra parmesan cheese.