Arugula Pesto Pasta

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

Arugula, also known as rocket, is a bitter green with an assertive mustard flavor. It has a long history in the Italian community. Now many American cooks, looking for healthful greens with lively flavors, have discovered arugula. They appreciate its rich flavor and healthy dose of vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.

This pasta dish is delicious served right away or chilled, making it a perfect choice for a picnic. And the meatless bacon adds 6 grams of good soy protein to every serving.


  • Sea salt
  • 3 cups uncooked organic rigatoni, half wheat and half white semolina, or any other pasta
  • 5-6 ounces organic arugula, well washed, drained, and torn into large pieces, about 5 packed cups
  • 3 large cloves local garlic, sliced
  • 8 strips meatless bacon, cut into thirds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pepper, to taste


  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a covered pot over high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When cooked al dente or to your preference, drain the pasta and turn into a bowl.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place the arugula, garlic, bacon, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cover and process for about 25 seconds, until fairly smooth with small flecks of the meatless bacon visible.
  3. Turn the arugula pesto into the bowl with the pasta. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the processor bowl. Using two wooden spoons, toss the pasta with the pesto to coat. Taste for seasonings.