Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Since pesto can really be made with any type of nut, I figured making a pumpkin seed pesto would work great, too. I had also grabbed a huge bunch of arugula at the farmers market and I know I had seen pesto made with arugula instead of basil before, so I figured I would give this combination a try. It was so incredible. The spicy peppery flavor from the arugula was perfection and the toasted nutty flavor from the pumpkin seeds complimented the arugula so nicely. It was such a robust combination of so many great flavors. I personally love a garlicky pesto, I love that spicy kick! However, if you aren’t a fan of the raw garlic taste, either cut back and only use one clove, or consider roasting the garlic first. I happened to have both Parmesan Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses on hand, so I went with a mix of the two. Feel free to just use one or the other.

This pesto is very versatile and it would be great spread on a sandwich, or served over vegetables, chicken or fish.  I didn’t use the entire batch of pesto, so I put the leftovers in an air-tight container and in the fridge, to use in the next day or two. You can also freeze pesto in small batches and thaw to use, as needed.

Arugula and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

4 cups tightly packed fresh Arugula
3/4 cup unsalted hulled pumpkin seeds, raw
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
3/4 cup blend of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and Parmesan Reggiano cheeses
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toast pumpkin seeds in a single layer of a cookie sheet, at 400º until they are toasted on all sides, stir occasionally, about 5-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Reserve 1/4 cup of the toasted pumpkin seeds for serving. In the blender mix arugula, olive oil, garlic and cheeses until everything is well blended. Add pumpkin seeds and pulse into the mix until minced.  Salt and pepper to taste. Add more olive oil if you like your pesto more drizzly and thin, less if you like it drier and thicker.

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto
serves 4

16 oz gluten-free organic brown rice penne pasta
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking liquid
Arugula and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
1/4 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
Parmesan Reggiano cheese
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cook your pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain and rinse your pasta. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the sun-dried tomatoes and pesto. Toss to combine, making sure all the pasta is coated with pesto, adding in the pasta cooking liquid as need to thin the sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve the pasta to each plate, sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds and Parmesan Reggiano cheese over the top.

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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3 Responses

  1. Lauren says:

    I randomly found your blog looking for a recipe with sundried tomatoes and pumpkin seeds (thought they’d go well together). I love pesto so I tried making this. My husband and I LOVED it!! It was soooo yummy. Thank you for the creativity!

  2. Lisa Boesen says:

    I too randomly came across your blog looking for a pasta recipe that had a pumpkin seed sundried tomato broth. I had lunch today at Mazraff’s here in Houston and this absolutely incredible pasta dish with a pumpkin seed-sun dried tomato broth (that’s what they called it!) more like a broth based slightly thick sauce. It was amazing. It wasn’t quite a pesto but it did have arugula and microgreens. Perhaps a deconstructed pesto? Regardless, will definitely keep yours in my to-do file! Thanks!

  3. Aridela says:

    Amazing recipe. I’m starting to become a huge fan of yours.

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