This arugula pesto pasta is quick, easy and beautiful. The pesto comes together in less than five minutes in the food processor (not kidding), and after that, you just need to add a bit of pasta water, and the burrata for a kick-ass, gourmet meal that you can make any night of the week.
Plus, once you learn how to make this pesto - you can use it in SO MANY different ways. This recipe has been tested over and over again, so I know it works and will work for you.
Is Arugula Pesto even Good?
Yes, it totally is. However, arugula is known for it's sharp, peppery and bitter taste, so if you're not into bitter, this might not be the recipe for you. The classic basil and pine nut version is super sweet and delicious though though.
How can I Make it Less Bitter?
In this recipe, we're going to even out the bitterness of the arugula by combining it with almonds. The sweet, nutty flavor will calm the arugula down significantly. If it's still not enough, swap 50% of the arugula for some basil. It's totally delicious, and perfect for those of you who aren't keen on bitter.
What does it taste like?
To me, this arugula pesto pasta highlights a bit of kick from the arugula, sweetness from the almonds, umami from the parmesan cheese, and some tang from the lemon. It's perfectly balanced, fresh, a bit earthy, and super satisfying.
The pesto itself is already vegetarian, gluten free, and keto friendly. To make it dairy free and vegan, just swap the parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast, and you're good to go! Just go easy on the yeast, you'll want to use about half the volume that we use as parmesan.
To swap out the pasta: there's tons of other things that would be delicious here other than pasta. Using it pesto as a marinade for chicken, pork, or tofu would be delicious. Maybe making a cauliflower rice risotto. Mmmmmmm, yes please.
Other Ways to Use Arugula Pesto
The list is endless - it's definitely nice to have a jar of this on hand in the fridge for emergencies. Here's some ideas to get you started on where and how you can use it!
- On pizza
- As part of a salad
- In couscous
- In risotto
- As a marinade
- In a quiche
- In potato salad (!)
- On a sandwich
- In a grilled cheese
- In lasagna
- On flatbread
- As part of a crostini appetizer
How to Make Arugula Pasta
First, let's go over our ingredient list. It's simple and sweet.
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Reserved pasta water
- Burrata cheese
Making the Pesto
This is such an easy process. First, you're going to combine the arugula and the almonds in a food processor. Give it a blitz until the almonds and the arugula are finely chopped.
Next, we're going to add the parmesan, lemon, salt and pepper, oil, and blitz again (you can also add a couple of dashes of hot sauce or red pepper flakes here if you're in the mood for something zesty!).
And that's basically it. You're done for the pesto.
Making the Pasta
Pick your favourite pasta shape (or make it from scratch, fresh is delicious here also), and cook according to package directions. Strain it, but make sure you reserve about a cup of the cooking liquid! Return the pasta to the same pot you cooked it in.
Combine the pesto and the pasta water with the pasta in the pot. Mix it until it's smooth.
Place the pasta in a serving dish. Finally, add the burrata, whole, in the middle of the pasta dish. You can either serve it like this, and let people take their own spoonful's of the cheese, or you can cut it up yourself and mix it in for a super creamy experience.
What to Serve with Arugula Pasta
This dish works well on it's own as a main, or as a side (I'm thinking particularly at Easter Dinner!). Here's a few different dishes I would pair it with:
Definitely going to want to go with a Sauvignon Blanc for this one. It's known as the wine you can pair with particularly assertive and problem-child vegetables (think asparagus, artichokes, things with super distinctive and bold flavors). So it works perfectly with arugula, not to mention the notes of lemon and grassy flavors pair well with the pesto as a whole.
Freezing and Storing
The pesto itself should keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.
You can freeze the pesto as well, for up to six months! There are also some really genius ideas out there on how to freeze it - like in single servings in ice cube trays, or flat in a sheet pan. Pesto also has a tendency to brown where the herbs touch the air. To avoid this, spread it out in the container you're freezing it in, cover with a thin layer of olive oil, then tightly seal and freeze.
Easy Arugula Pesto Pasta with Burrata
- Food processor
- 8 oz dried pasta
- 1½ C arugula
- 1 C slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 C parmesan cheese or substitute for ½ cup of nutritional yeast
- 2-3 dashes hot sauce optional
- ¾ C olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 ball burrata cheese
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return pasta to the same pot you cooked it in.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the arugula and the almonds to the food processor. Pulse until both are finely chopped. Add the parmesan, lemon, salt and pepper, and hot sauce, if using. Blitz again until everything is combined. Add the oil, and mix until combined.
- Add the pesto and the pasta water to the pot you cooked the pasta in. Mix the pasta water and pesto until smooth. Keep mixing until the pasta is coated.
- Place pasta in a serving bowl, then add the burrata in the center. Either let guests cut the burrata up on their own, or precut and mix it into the rest of the sauce.