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Looking to give pasta night an easy, fresh and fabulous upgrade?! Make this Arugula Pesto Pasta recipe! Loaded with mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes and sweet basil, it’s a delicious and light vegetarian dish the whole family will love! Serve it plain or top it with chicken, shrimp, fish or steak for a more substantial meal. Either way, this pasta with pesto is bursting with flavor and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!

Overhead shot of Arugula Pesto Pasta tossed with mozzarella pearls and halved cherry tomatoes in a white bowl with a ramekin of grated parmesan cheese and vine-ripe cherry tomatoes arranged around the bowl.

Update: This post was originally published in April 2016. I made updates to the post below to include more information about arugula pesto pasta. Plus, I took new photos and added a recipe video to show you how easy this rocket pasta is to make! 

Hi friends! Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! Before we get to today’s absolutely delicious dish, I want to quickly say thank you to those of you who read my last post and took time out of your day to leave such lovely, kind comments!

Unfortunately, online bullies and trolls come with the blogging territory. And really, meanness in general is something 99.99% of the population experiences in life. It’s an incredibly vulnerable endeavor to put your work and creativity out there on the internet for the world to scrutinize. And, I genuinely thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for visiting this blog!

To show my gratitude I made you pasta! Because we all know pasta is the way to anyone’s heart… along with copious amounts of cheese. Obviously. 😉

Overhead shot of all the ingredients needed to make Arugula Pesto neatly arranged on a gray wood serving board.

About this arugula pasta recipe

You guys, this pasta is legitimately delicious. It has to be, because my family doesn’t eat a lot of pasta (<- I know, I know, we are boring) so when we do, it must be out of this world delish.

Savory, thick, twirl-tastic bucatini is tossed, coated and glistening in a peppery, rich and robust arugula pesto. Topped with creamy mozzarella or torn burrata; juicy, plump tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts; sweet, herbaceous basil and sharp pecorino – this is what light pasta dreams are made of.

If you love homemade pestos, be sure to try this Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes next.

Overhead shot of a food processor bowl filled with the ingredients to make homemade arugula pesto - photo of step 1 of the arugula pesto pasta recipe.

Why you’ll love this pasta with arugula pesto

Aside from being incredibly flavorful and perfectly delicious, this pasta with green pesto is also:

  • Wholesome & Delicious – This isn’t just a pasta and pesto recipe; it’s a secret hack to sneaking more veggies onto your family’s plates without them ever suspecting a thing.
  • Made With Only 9 Ingredients – And about half of them are probably already hanging around in your pantry.
  • Quick & Easy – This silky pesto pasta with arugula is a dinner sensation and it comes together with minimal effort and maximum flavor.
  • Super Customizable – This pasta recipe is endlessly flexible. Try swapping out the arugula pesto for sun-dried tomato pesto or regular basil pesto. Or swap the arugula in the pesto for a fresh herb using this handy-dandy list of fresh herbs and guide to storing herbs so they stay fresh!
Overhead shot of a food processor bowl filled homemade arugula pesto - photo of step 2 of the arugula pesto pasta recipe.

What is arugula pesto pasta?

Arugula pesto pasta is a delicious, light vegetarian dish made of rich, peppery arugula pesto tossed with any variety of pasta. While this robust pesto pasta can be kept strictly vegetarian, you can also add shrimp, salmon or chicken to turn it into a more substantial meal!

If you’re looking for more delicious pesto recipes, try these fan-favorites next: Sun-Dried Pesto Sauce and Sheet Pan Sausage with Veggies and Pesto.

Overhead shot of a large white pot filled with al dente pasta and topped with a generous dollop of homemade arugula pesto - photo of step 4 of the arugula pesto pasta recipe.

How to make pesto arugula

Homemade arugula pesto is super simple to make and only requires six ingredients!

To make arugula pesto, all you need to do is add garlic, pine nuts, arugula, pecorino romano cheese (or you can substitute fresh parmesan) and lemon juice to the food processor. You process all those ingredients together until they are coarsely chopped, and then slowly stream in olive oil with the machine running. Once you have reached your desired consistency, taste and adjust the arugula pesto for salt and pepper. Voilà! Homemade, fresh arugula pesto!

Tips for the best success

  1. I used bucatini pasta because its thick, spaghetti-like texture holds up great with the pesto, but feel free to use whatever pasta tickles your fancy.
  2. The arugula pesto recipe below will make enough for 1 pound of pasta, which is enough to feed 4-6 people. If you are looking to feed less mouths, simply halve the recipe.
  3. The pesto will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks. But, be sure to give it a good stir before using.
  4. The pesto pasta with burrata tastes seriously scrumptious cold the next day, so making enough for leftovers is highly encouraged.
Overhead shot of a large white pot filled with al dente pasta tossed with homemade arugula pesto and topped with mozzarella pears, sliced basil and halved cherry tomatoes - photo of step 5 of the arugula pesto pasta recipe.

FAQs: frequently asked questions

How to make pesto with arugula less bitter?

While arugula, or rocket pesto should be peppery and robust in taste, it should not be bitter. To avoid bitter pesto, make sure you pulse all the ingredients in the food processor until finely chopped before adding the oil. As well, make sure you use a high quality extra virgin olive oil. If your pesto still tastes bitter, try adding a bit more lemon juice to cut the bitterness, or increase the amount of grated cheese.

How do you use arugula pesto?

Arugula pesto is the perfect, versatile condiment to have on hand in the refrigerator! And, while pesto is irresistibly delicious tossed with al dente pasta or veggie noodles, it is so much more than just a pasta sauce!

  • Use it on pizzas.  Substitute pesto for tomato sauce on your next pizza or flatbread for a unique experience!
  • Add it to eggs.  Drizzle a little pesto on top of your eggs to take your breakfast to the next level!
  • Use is as a base for salad dressings.  Add more olive oil and vinegar to pesto for a homemade vinaigrette!
  • Use it as a spread.  Mix pesto with strained yogurt or mayonnaise and use it as a spread for your next sandwich!
  • Add it to chicken salads.  Mix a little pesto into your next chicken salad for a burst of flavor!
  • Use it as a topping or sauce for protein.  Spread a few dollops of pesto over grilled chicken, salmon or steak as an elegant finishing touch!
  • Drizzle it on vegetables.  Amp up your grilled or roasted vegetables by drizzling a little pesto on top. Or, serve pesto with vegetable crudités (or platter) at your next party for an appetizer that is sure to impress!

How long will it keep?

Arugula pesto will keep, stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You will need to give it a good stir, or whisk, before using!

Angled, up-close shot of Arugula Pesto Pasta in a white bowl with a fork inserted and twirled around the pasta to showcase the pesto.

If you haven’t tried arugula pesto yet, what are you waiting for? Make this Arugula Pesto Pasta and twirl your way to deliciousness.

Until Thursday friends, cheers, and a million thank you’s for being so awesome!

Cheyanne

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More pasta recipes with pesto

Looking for more easy pasta dishes? Try these family favorites next:

Overhead shot of Arugula Pesto Pasta tossed with mozzarella pearls and halved cherry tomatoes in a white bowl with a ramekin of grated parmesan cheese, a tan linen and vine-ripe cherry tomatoes arranged around the bowl.

Arugula Pesto Pasta

5 from 17 votes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Looking to give pasta night an easy, fresh and fabulous upgrade?! Make this Arugula Pesto Pasta recipe! Loaded with mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes and sweet basil, it's a delicious and light vegetarian dish the whole family will love! Serve it plain or top it with chicken, shrimp, fish or steak for a more substantial meal. Either way, it’s bursting with flavor and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!
Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.

Ingredients 

  • 9-10 ounces Cocktail Tomatoes (can substitute Cherry or Grape Tomatoes)
  • 12 ounces Bucatini
  • 8 oz Mozzarella Pearls (can substitute burrata, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 Cup Basil – roughly chopped
  • Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

Arugula Pesto

Instructions

  • Make the Arugula-Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic and pine nuts. Process until finely chopped. Add the arugula, pecorino and lemon juice.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Process until coarsely chopped. 
  • With the processor running, slowly add in the olive oil in a steady stream. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Toss pasta:  Add the arugula pesto to bowl with pasta along with 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.  Toss to coat, adding more water as necessary to create a silky sauce.
  • Add the basil to the pasta along with half of the mozzarella and tomatoes.  Toss again until combined.
  • Serve: Divide pasta between serving bowls and top with remaining mozzarella and tomatoes.  Garnish with additional arugula, pine nuts and pecorino if desired. Serve.

Video

Notes

  1. Pasta: I used bucatini pasta because its thick, spaghetti-like texture holds up great with the pesto, but feel free to use whatever pasta tickles your fancy.
  2. Pesto Yield: The arugula pesto recipe below will make enough for 1 pound of pasta, which is enough to feed 4-6 people. If you are looking to feed less mouths, simply halve the recipe.
  3. Pesto Storage: The pesto will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks. But, be sure to give it a good stir before using.
  4. FYI: The pesto pasta with burrata tastes seriously scrumptious cold the next day, so making enough for leftovers is highly encouraged.
  5. If you want to roast the tomatoes:  Place tomatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Roast in oven for 18-20 minutes, or until tomatoes are very juicy, but not broken down.
Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 4 servings.  Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.

Nutrition

Calories: 817kcal    Carbohydrates: 69g    Protein: 26g    Fat: 48g    Saturated Fat: 12g    Cholesterol: 45mg    Sodium: 438mg    Potassium: 483mg    Fiber: 3g    Sugar: 5g    Vitamin A: 1025IU    Vitamin C: 17.7mg    Calcium: 405mg    Iron: 2.8mg

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Arugula Pesto Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes & Burrata- long pin2