Orzo with Arugula Sauce

My love affair with arugula began three years ago when my friend Maggie, Jimmy and I made a stop at the French Rivera on our way to the Festival of Lights in Lyon. Maggie is a competitive runner. She runs everyday even on holidays and maintains a very healthy diet, which means a daily intake of some sort of green salad. Me, on the other hand, thought salads are for little bunnies.

Now being in Nice, the natural choice of salad is Salade Niçoise. It is served in almost every restaurant on the Rivera. However, the traditional Salade Niçoise does not contain a lot of greens and not everyone is a big fan of anchovies in their salads.

So on our third day, after a fabulous lunch at Restaurant La Montgolfiere Henri Geraci in Monaco, we decided to stop at Monoprix and assemble a deli-style dinner to each of our own delight – Maggie selected an assortment of mushrooms, radishes and greens to make a salad; I got a big slab of head cheese, delicious ham and couple pieces of Moroccan chicken; And Jimmy found a Ferrero Rocher ice cream dessert that is simply divine!

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Among the greens are these peppery tasting roquette, which I immediately took a liking.

Fast forward back in the states, I found roquette as arugula at grocery stores and local farmers market. I buy them in bags and snack on them whenever I can.

Sometimes when I fancy a nutritious warm meal, I cook this pasta.

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This recipe is adopted from Essential Pepin – a cooking show by French chef Jacques Pépin on PBS.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets chopped
  • 1 6oz. bag of baby arugula
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 cup orzo cooked according to directions, drained and set aside

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.
  2. When the oil is hot add pine nuts and onion and cook until nuts are lightly browned and onions are soft.
  3. Stir in scallions and anchovy, let it cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add arugula, cook until it is wilted and soft.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes, salt (taste to see if it is needed, since the anchovy can be salty), pepper to taste and cook for one minute.
  6. Add in cooked orzo, stir to combine.
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