2000s Recipes + Menus

Pasta with Arugula Purée and Cherry-Tomato Sauce

Serves4 (main-course)
  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:30 min
April 2006
In this easy and hugely satisfying pasta dish, arugula is transformed from peppery leaf into powerhouse pesto.

For arugula purée

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
  • 5 oz baby arugula, coarsely chopped (7 cups)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 oz finely grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For cherry-tomato sauce

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with side of a large knife
  • 1 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes (about 5 cups), trimmed if necessary
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb dried fettuccine (not made with egg)
  • Accompaniment:

    grated Pecorino Romano

Make purée:

  • Pulse pine nuts in a food processor until finely ground (be careful not to grind to a paste). Add arugula, oil, cheese, and salt and pulse until almost smooth.

Make tomato sauce:

  • Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Discard garlic. Add tomatoes and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are collapsed but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook and serve pasta:

  • Cook fettuccine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander and return to pot. Add arugula purée and toss until well coated. Transfer to a platter or plates and top with tomato sauce.
Cooks' note: Purée can be made, but not tossed with pasta, 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
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