Farfalle with Arugula Gremolata, Gorgonzola, Golden Raisins, and Walnuts

Yield: 4 servings

Grinding flavorful green leaves into a delicious paste provides a great opportunity for sneaking a full serving of vegetables in a few exquisite bites. This arugula version is truly revelatory! The peppery, slightly bitter flavor is enriched by the pecans and softened by the light sweet (and hardly discernable) presence of golden raisins. This will keep for up to a week in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. A thin layer of olive oil across the top surface will help preserve it.

Note: The pecans do not need to be toasted, but you can experiment with toasting them lightly to see if you prefer the slightly enhanced flavor.

3/4 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 recipe Arugula Gremolata (recipe follows)
1/2 cup (heaping measure) crumbled gorgonzola
2 to 3 tablespoons golden raisins
1 cup very small, very sweet cherry tomatoes (optional)
1/2 cup minced walnuts, lightly toasted
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water until al dente. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Immediately toss with olive oil
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except the walnuts and pepper. Toss until thoroughly combined.
  3. Serve immediately, topped with walnuts and a generous application of black pepper.

Arugula Gremolata

Yield: 3/4 cup (enough for 4 pasta servings)

Traditional gremolata is a feathery mix of finely rendered parsley, garlic and lemon zest--most notably used as a topping for the Italian dish osso bucco. This feisty spin-off (made in seconds in a food processor) replaces the parsley with arugula, and offers the option of orange zest in place of lemon. I like to serve it on pasta (especially the farfalle, or bow-tie, shape), as in the augmented recipe that follows.

  • Young, small (and therefore not-so-bitter) arugula is best for this. Just pinch off any stem extending past the base of the leaf and use the rest. For older, larger arugula, remove and use only the leaves, and discard the stems.
  • This recipe is very easily multiplied or divided to make exactly the amount you need
  • Make it and use it—doesn't improve with age
  • Zesting the lemon peel (with a zester or a good vegetable peeler) and then mincing very finely with a sharp knife is preferable to grating the zest, which could make it a bit bitter.
2 cups (loosely packed) young arugula (or older arugula without stems)—about 2 ounces
4 teaspoons finely minced garlic
4 teaspoons finely minced lemon or orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine arugula, garlic and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse to finely chop—don't puree! Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Ready to use!