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June 25, 2008
Make Pasta Take Off With Rocket
word arugula conjures up many things. To some, it is known as rocket. To
others, it might evoke thoughts of an old-timey car horn. To most, it
prompts only thoughts of question marks, probing the deep recesses of
the brain in the vain attempt to figure out what it is.
Those who know rocket know that it does not like to be classified. It is
leafy and suitable for salads and sandwiches. Yet, it is also strongly
flavored, which makes it something that can stand on its own in
can do so either in a standalone, oil-based sauce; or as a replacement
for basil in pesto.
Pesto, as most people are aware, was named after a dinner party host
misspoke himself. A hungry houseguest queried about dinner, and the
host, salivating in anticipation, mixed the basil sauce into the
noodles, turned around, and failed to add the r to Presto! To cover
his error, he pretended that it was intentional, and the rest is
same is true when co-opting that original recipe, which relied on basil
leaves. We are lucky that both rocket and basil are colored green, or
else the substitution might not be possible.
aside two cups of raw rocket leaves, and instead take up a half cup of
pine nuts. Spread these out on a cookie sheet and roast for five minutes
at 325 degrees. While you are at it, also roast a head of garlic . . .
guess what two ingredients of rocket pesto are.
may either use a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Be advised of
the language land mines in going low-tech. We are already at the point
of calling this sauce pesto thanks to a misspoken word, and the addition
of a similar-sounding one to an already charged situation could have
dire results. For our purposes, we will avoid that minefield and go
next step reminds us of how the error was made in the first place. Chop
the rocket, garlic and nuts until smooth, all the while drizzling in the
olive oil to lubricate the process. Remove from one bowl to another, and
stir in the cheese.
Presto . . . pesto! The roots of linguistic error become clear.
low-tech version of this is just as simple. You mash the nuts and garlic
with the oil, and chop the rocket leaves separately before adding. It is
important to tear the leaves so the flavorful juices and oils flow out,
and the pestle is a tool for grinding, not ripping and tearing. Stir in
the cheese as a last step, as smashed cheese does not blend easily. Take
care to steer away from linguistic entanglements.
it into fresh pasta, with the strong flavor of the rocket complementing
the earthiness and nuttiness of the other ingredients.
have created enough for four dishes, but if there are not four dining at
your table, here is another suggestion freeze it in an ice cube tray.
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